I swear the skies opened up and the angels sang! A desperately needed new resource, U.S. Colleges Directory: Comparing Food Allergies and Gluten-Free Policies has been recently released to the public. Allergic Living Magazine rolled up their sleeves and worked very hard to provide this invaluable information to our young people growing up with food allergies and celiac disease. Serious Kudos are due here!
My son is a college freshman and the top deal breaker regarding college choice was the answer to this question: can he remain safe at college? There were no scholarships large enough or academics appealing enough to override basic safety and well being. Spreadsheets and notes in hand, my son explored each collegebased on his interests and then slowly scratched them off his list if he felt he could not be safe. It was that simple. Finding the answers though was quite complicated.
Once a school was deemed worthy, he immediately scrutinized every part of the their website mentioning food allergy, disabilities or accommodations. Sometimes, his hunt felt like work on a research paper as his exploration included emails, phone calls and in person visits of his top choices. This was no easy task.
Not only did we review the schools protocol, we inquired if they were willing to establish protocol or to work with us if none were in place. We also delved into the reality of who was managing the dining services, as most colleges retain professional food service companies. The three largest food service providers are Sodexo, Compass (Bon Appétit and Chartwells) and Aramark. Once we learned more about those companies policy, we gain clarity on what was available to manage his food allergies.
What has me over-the-moon thrilled with the U.S. Colleges Directory: Comparing Food Allergies and Gluten-Free Policies?
- The Directory is free
- The Directory is available online
- Ninety 91 schools are currently included in this directory
- Schools answered 18 questions about Residential Housing, Dining and Disability Services
- Top food service providers, Sodexo, Compass (Bon Appétit and Chartwells) and Aramark provided answers to direct questions, which are included in this resource
- Readers simply click on schools listed in the directory to learn more about the institution
- Allergic Living Magazine is unbiased and they fact check everything they publish, therefore trust and reliability is established
- I get a lump in my throat when I saw the question if kitchenettes are an option (hey, everyone has their special thing and that is mine)
This Directory is truly going to become a college counselor staple and within our food allergy community. Even if your child is not interested in any of the school listed, the list of questions asked is important. I hate re-inventing the wheel, so I hope many use this Directory as a guide.
I ask you to please share this resource with your local high school counselor, support groups and local youth. I’m sad we missed this resource for my son, but thrilled that my daughter will have access to it in the years to come. The college search is very difficult in general and when you add in life threatening food allergies, those stress levels can rise. I hope this resource will ease your college hunt process!
School policies and life change, therefore it is key to use this directory as a guide, as it does not replace good old fashioned research and self advocating. At the end of the day, our youth must remain the master of their health and well being.
Congratulations Allergic Living Magazine and our youth managing food allergies and celiac disease on moving forward in making our world a better place.
Disclaimer: I am a proud member of the Allergic Living Magazine team and love all opportunities to share valuable resources, such as U.S. Colleges Directory: Comparing Food Allergies and Gluten-Free Policies. BUT, this resource really does get me emotional having just completed our very stressful college hunt with my son. The only thing that kept me from acting like a complete fool on College Move-In day and after, was knowing my son was as safe as possible. That peace of mind is golden.