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Campus of diversity—of diet

As a students with dietary restrictions, eating on-campus is a constant battle—to eat, or not to eat? That’s the question that many of my friends and I struggle with.

For those who are gluten-free to people like me who don’t eat meat, scrounging around the cafeteria and restaurants on-campus for something to eat is a daily dilemma.

For ORU freshman and on-campus resident Chrissy Maezzei, a meal plan doesn’t do justice to her eating habits. Being gluten-free, dairy-free and also having to avoid processed foods, acidic foods and red meats for health reasons, she is forced to stock her dorm room with prepped meals as her Sodexo dollars and cafeteria visits run down the drain.

“I probably eat on campus in general about twice a week, and even then I can only eat from the fruit and vegetables usually,” said Chrissy Maezzei.

For me, the vegetarian corner of the cafeteria and the salad bar are usually the limits of my domain. While eating vegetarian is a choice for me, it has, in my opinion, improved my health dramatically as well as increased my energy for everyday life. While there are vegetarian options on the cafeteria menu every day, they are limited, and after being in school for almost a semester and a half (over 200 days on campus), these options have become overdone.

“If a campus serves 1,000 students, statistics predict that 40 of those students will have food allergies, and 30 of them will not have discussed those allergies with the individuals who prepare their food. Sixteen of the 40 will have allergic reactions within a six month period, and eight of those will be serious reactions. Eight other students will have new food allergies,” said Beth Winthrop, the National Wellness Director for Campus Services at Sodexo in the Greater Boston Area, in a Food & Culinary Professionals article.

While we strive to meet the needs of the vast diversity on campus, we should also strive to meet the needs of the vast array of diets that come with that.

Oral Roberts University does a great job of not only accommodating for each person’s individual needs (whether emotionally, spiritually, or physically), but also celebrating differences. This is one of the qualities of ORU that drew me to want to be part of the student body. Now it is time to bring that inclusivity to our campus dining options so that ORU can become an integrated and unified university without nutritional limits.