By Adrianna Cole
Freshman year is the start of new discoveries and ideas. The first thing most students discover is where to eat on campus. For omnivores alike, who do not suffer any dietary restriction, the only problem is keeping a healthy conscience. You know, not ordering the quesadilla and burger at the Undercaf every day.
However, for those of us who have dietary restrictions, finding what is available for us seems more of a hassle and “impossible.”
When I first moved on campus, I was hit with the reality of not being able to cook my own food. At the time, I didn’t eat meat, but later in the semester I stopped eating dairy and eggs as well. Needless to say, it was an adjustment, but I survived.
The biggest spot on campus that caters to every allergen is the place that is most hated by students, the Caf. There are signs everywhere that label what is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Allergens such as soy, shellfish and tree nuts are marked.
For certain students who may get sick from certain foods, such as Jessica Koenig, the Caf makes a personal portion of food to take on the go.
If there are any issues an individual sees, they can contact Tim Raible, the director of food services. He is open to suggestions.
The Undercaf offers eggless mayonnaise for those who can’t have eggs. Their menu items are also labeled. The Buckstop has flatbread for those who have gluten allergies. Every veggie burger on campus is dairy and egg free.
The Happy Place Barbecue has a portobello mushroom wrap. The Moc Mart is packed with items that meet every dietary need.
I only named a few items, but you get the gist. Every place has an option and even more will be available in the future.
Probably the biggest issue I’ve witnessed is the student body expecting food services to already have these options. Acting self-righteous will not get anyone anywhere. You heard it here first. Look, no one in food services can guess everyone’s dietary need. It is just improbable. That is why we, as students, should ask and help out those in food services find more options.
Around December 2015, I went around asking every campus dining place what vegan options they carried. That day, the Buckstop flatbread was born. Since that day, every employee was telling me about their efforts to bring vegan cheese or other alternatives for students like me.
I asked and things did change.
Last year, Florida Southern didn’t carry vegan cheese, mayo, or any nut-free butter. Now, Tutu’s has sunflower butter, and the Undercaf and Buckstop carry vegan cheese and mayo. The Moc Mart now also carries coconut milk for those with allergies to soy or almonds.
There is nothing wrong with having a dietary restriction. There is nothing wrong with asking to modify a menu item.
Heck, at the Undercaf, I’ve ordered a quesadilla with pico and guacamole instead of cheese. I have ordered a quesadilla without cheese. Let that sink in.
A student cannot help their individual need, but they should not expect to have every need met.
Here’s my advice. If you find yourself wanting better options, send Tim Raible an email. Give him a recipe that is good and ask him to make it for the Caf. Here’s his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone is busy. We get it. We’re college students and finding time to do anything is almost impossible, but remember, those in food services are also busy. They aren’t going to attempt a random recipe they found on Pinterest because it’s expensive. The ingredients are expensive, and there’s always a possibility of it failing.
If a student really wants to make a change to the options on campus, they have to act. If they don’t contact anyone to modify an option, then they do not have the right to complain about the lack of variety on the campus.