BY ALEXANDRA LANDRY // FEBRUARY 14, 2019 //
I have been a vegetarian for three years now. How I came to this lifestyle is a weird story, and I’ll spare you the details. Just know that I can’t eat any meat or I will get really sick. And I mean really sick.
At Curry College, my biggest concern is cross contamination in the preparation and serving of foods in the dining hall. If I eat a veggie burger at the Flame station, I worry about it being cooked on the same grill as the burgers, chicken and “Stu dogs.” If I get pasta at the Firzeni station, I’m worried that the spoons in the marinara and meat sauces may have been switched by accident, or that some of the meat sauce splashed into the marinara.
If I get a wrap at the Deli, I’m acutely aware of the fact that every sandwich is cut with the same knife. If I get an omelet, I’m worried about mine being cooked in the same pan as someone who ordered ham or bacon in theirs.
The food at Curry, as is the case at most colleges, will never compare to a homemade meal. But I’ve found it extremely difficult to eat in the Student Center dining hall the last three years.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I could stick to the salad bar, but sometimes the salads have bacon mixed in. I once accidentally got corn chowder without reading the ingredients, thinking it was a safe option. Turns out there was uncured bacon in it.
It got to the point where I wasn’t using my meal swipes at all because I was so afraid to take the risk of getting sick. I wasn’t eating, yet I was spending money on a meal plan that I wasn’t even using.
I met with Residence Life in December to cancel my meal plan for the spring. I explained how critical it was for my health that I not eat meat, and was told to reach out to a dean as they have more “power” when it comes to making these decisions.
I didn’t hear back for more than a month — even after three emails.
Finally, I was told this decision would have to go to Disability Services since it was a health issue. Keep in mind, we had already moved back in for the semester. After providing a doctor’s note and explaining how this has been an issue I’ve been dealing with for three years, I was finally granted the cancelation of my meal plan.
In the past three years, the workers in the dining hall have tried to be accommodating, which I greatly appreciate. But Curry needs to take into greater consideration the needs of their students. Not only those who are vegetarian, but those who are kosher, vegan, gluten free, or who have with any other dietary restrictions.
The student should always come first. Always.