New committee seeks student input

Dining Services has teamed up with a committee of both students and faculty to help those with dietary needs.

Madelaine Formica, Reporter

For many students the cafeteria is a source of nutrition throughout the day, but for those with dietary restrictions like junior Kiana Verdugo, participant in the Dietary Restrictions Committee (DRC), it’s uncertain territory.

“I didn’t know what to eat, so I didn’t eat at the cafeteria,” Verdugo said when talking about her gluten free and lactose free diet.

Representatives from the Disabilities Services and Health Services attend the meetings, along with Dean of Students Alan Sickbert, Dining Services Director Ed Kreitzman and five students.

The committee meets once a month. The first meeting for this semester is still to be scheduled, but it will be in the beginning of October. Students who are on the committee have a variety of dietary needs of their own. Senior Evelyn Pechous, who is also on the committee, with a strict diet, explained the students role in the committee’s meetings.

“They get most of the say I believe, because we are the ones coming up with the solutions and ideas. The staff are there as a supportive role,” Pechous said.

Sickbert said that, “Our students are very responsible about their needs and that’s why we need their expertise.”

The goal of the committee is simple. “It’s primarily to make sure that students who have dietary needs are able to find food that they are able to eat,” said Pechous.

Since last spring, Dining Services has added a gluten free corner with gluten free bagels and muffins. They also provide gluten free bread for sandwiches and vegetarian options in the Leo’s Corner, the Piper Grill and Bishop’s Bistro.

Verdugo smiled after explaining the changes when she said, “I felt more confident going in to get food.”

The cafeteria also runs on a policy that if a student asks how a dish is prepared, the staff will show the labels of the ingredients to the student. For those with dietary restrictions on religious holidays, Dining Services is willing to make a customizable meal if given notice.

“We [the Dean of Students and Dining services] are trying to be proactive and would like those with dietary needs to come forward,” Sickbert said. This request was repeated by both students and staff on the DRC.

Kreitzman is the main contact person for those who have dietary needs. “Some students said that they didn’t know they could talk to someone,” Kreitzman said.

“I would like more students to feel like they can get involved,” Verdugo said.

Sickbert asked for “students with dietary needs to register with Disability Services.” Those with dietary needs should talk to the Dining Services staff and feel free to ask any questions. Dining Services is located on the second floor of Anderson in room 215. Their business hours are 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.