College is typically a time in your life when you do not have to worry about what you are eating. Stereotypically, college students are constantly eating pizza, wings, fries and other junk foods, while simultaneously drinking massive amounts of coffee and alcohol.
The Shippensburg University campus has multiple dining locations that boast a wide variety of foods. However, for someone with a food allergy or intolerance, there really is not that much to eat.
Most dining locations offer the same basic foods — subs, pizzas and burgers or chicken tenders with fries.
As a freshman, I came onto campus knowing that it would probably be very hard for me to find food suitable for my diet.
I, like many other students, suffer from food intolerances. More specifically, I suffer from gluten and dairy intolerances. This means that I get sick when I ingest foods containing these ingredients.
“Just avoid your trigger foods,” is what I’m often told when dining out. But things are not that simple.
When you are in an environment where you do not have access to a wide variety of foods, your health is affected.
I lost 30 pounds my freshman year at SU. (Granted, I didn’t mind losing the weight, but would have liked the conditions to be different.)
I struggled to find suitable options at dining locations. Most nights I would have some chicken and salad with a side of fruit for dinner. There is a small section in Reisner where gluten free products are offered, but the options are limited most days.
I rarely ate the same amount of food as my peers. While they were having pizza and ice cream nonstop, I found it easier to go without food than trying to plan what I could eat based upon what was open. It was easier to just go hungry.
This led to another problem at the end of the semester. I had lost a significant amount of money because I didn’t use my meal swipes. Even when using as many meal swipes as possible (mostly buying my friends the foods I couldn’t eat), I was still left with more than 40 meal swipes. Money is already tight and a source of stress for college students. The frustration of paying for meals you do not eat only increases with dietary restrictions.
Anyone who has been in the “health foods” section at the grocery store knows that foods labeled “gluten free” or “dairy free” or “vegan” cost significantly more and often do not have as long a shelf life.
This editorial is not meant to trash dining facilities for not having options. I understand that these foods are more expensive and not in as high demand as pizza or fries.
This editorial is meant to bring awareness. I know I am not the only person on this campus who has trouble being able to eat here.
There is no need to have multiple dining locations on one small campus that serve the same greasy, non-allergen friendly foods.
Bring some more variety to campus. Add dining options that are suitable for all.