Getting to Know Dining Services
When you arrive at college, you can expect to spend a lot of time eating in the cafeterias on campus.
The Personal Approach
It is important to develop a relationship with your school's dining services staff. This is true even if you have accommodations set up through disability services. Dining services will work daily to provide you with safe food, so you want to communicate directly with them.
As early as possible, have an in-person meeting with the staff. Discuss your food allergies with the person who manages the school’s food allergy plan. This will usually be a director, manager, registered dietitian or chef.
Strategies for Success
If your schedule allows, go to the dining halls before or after peak meal times. When the cafeterias are less crowded, you may have an easier time finding the safe foods you’re looking for. The staff will be more available as well, if you need them.
Never take chances by eating or drinking something with no ingredient information. Don't assume anything about how a food is made. Ask questions about what you can and cannot eat in the dining hall—every meal, if you have to.
The Next Four Years
Keep an open line of communication with dining services throughout your time at college. Let them know what’s working and when you have challenges in dining. If you experience an allergic reaction on campus, follow up with dining services after you’ve received proper medical care.
What to Read Next
Joining a college student support group can have a lot of great benefits as you navigate this new phase of your life. Learn how to find or create one.
Disability services can be a valuable partner to students with food allergies by helping you stay safe and included on campus.