Students feel they need more choices in the dining hall

By on December 8, 2004

Allison Ruggiero, sophomore physical therapy major, suffers from chronic stomach pain.

“Well, I eat two things in the cafeteria. One is bagels. Two is plain chicken on a tortilla without the cheese,” Ruggiero, a member of the cross county team, said.

Ruggiero eats only plain food. She cannot eat greasy fried food, rich sauces, spicy food or milk products. “I would feel really sick if I did,” Ruggiero said.

Quinnipiac provides all of its students with the same meal plan. Not all students have equal dietary needs. Does the cafeteria meet the needs of students who follow special diets? Is it possible to eat healthy, to eat vegetarian, gluten free or diabetic?

Kathryn Macaione, registered nurse and director or student health services said students should bring a doctor’s prescription or copy of the diet they follow to her. She then refers students to Leann Spaulding, in-house nutritionist, and Joe Tobin, director of food services.

“I can be honest. There are very few meal plans that are waived. Joe Tobin is committed to meeting the needs of the students,” Macaione said.

Courtney Chabina, sophomore diagnostic imaging major, has been a vegetarian since high school. She said that she is occasionally forced to eat white meat because she does not get enough protein in her diet.

“The choices are limited especially if you are vegetarian or vegan,” Chabina said. A vegan is a vegetarian who eats only plant products and uses no products derived from animals.

When Chabina goes to the cafeteria she eats salad, pasta or cereal. “And my options are few,” Chabina said.

Tobin’s office is located in the former 1929 room above the dining hall. According to Tobin, Chartwells is equipped to provide students with vegetarian, gluten free and diabetic friendly meals.

“We are required by the college to do any diet necessary,” Tobin said. There is, however, one exception: Kosher diets. Kosher diets are not possible because the cafeteria has one kitchen and kosher requires meat and dairy dishes to be prepared separately.

Tobin suggests that students who have special dietary needs see him with a list of 10-12 foods they can eat. Cooks can specially prepare meals for students at the times they would like to eat.

“Cooks like doing special things, too,” Tobin said.

Ruggiero is eligible to have custom meals prepared for her. “They have not done it yet, so I can’t say they will do it for me,” Ruggiero said.

Ruggiero’s cross country teammates complained to their coach, Shawn Green, of frequent stomach aches from cafeteria food.

In a poll of cross-country team members nearly every athlete requested healthier choices, more fruits and vegetables, and less fried food in the cafeteria.

Kathy Seifert, sophomore occupational therapy major and member of the cross-country team, said, “There’s not enough protein to build my muscles.”

Garret Woodward, sophomore journalism and history major, said, “You’re forced into eating too much greasy food. The Philly cheese steaks are great but I wish there were more health choices.”

“All they need to do is ask the cook on the serving line,” said Tobin referring to students who have a special request. He suggested that if necessary students find a manager to help.

“It’s not mom’s home cooking but I think they do an outstanding job,” Macaione said.


About Tanya Lagatella