FAACT's College Resource Center
For Students: How To ConversationsBack to Category View
How To Talk to Dining Hall Staff
Talking to the staff at your dining hall is a CRITICAL part of your college choice. It is your time to shine and have these conversations on your own behalf. (Your parents/guardians will be there to back you up.)
Here are some example questions to ask:
- Is there an allergen-friendly station in the dining hall?
- Can meals be chosen ahead of time to ensure an allergen-free entree is available ?
- Can I meet with the college registered dietitian to get allergen-free alternatives ordered?
- Are the dining hall staff professionally trained in managing food allergies through a program such as AllerTrain™ Food Service Training?
- Are the dining hall staff trained in epinephrine administration, and is an epinephrine auto-injector kept in the dining hall area?
- How are ingredients labeled in the dining hall? How will I know what safe food choices are available?
- Are there dedicated pots and pans at food stations to be used for students with food allergies to ensure no risk of cross-contact (e.g., at the omelet station or stir fry station)?
- When the university has events at which food is served, will allergen-friendly options be made available so I can safely participate?
- Do ALL dining halls on campus offer allergen-free meals for me or only certain ones?
- Can I get a tour of the dining facility/facilities when I visit?
Example Conversation Starters
When calling the Dining Services main office:
“Good morning! My name is [name]. I will be a freshman this fall at [college/university]. I have severe food allergies to [allergen(s)]. I am hoping to connect with someone that I can speak to about your dining facilities.”
When emailing the school dietitian:
Dear [School Dietitian Name],
My name is [name]. I will be a freshman this fall at [college/university]. I have severe food allergies to [allergen(s)]. I am hoping to connect with someone to speak to about your dining facilities. If possible, I would love to see the dining facilities before move-in day. Thank you in advance.