Last week I wrote about my accommodations within the classroom, but this week I wanted to focus on the dining hall and eating on campus. This area of college can be really hard for young Invisibles going through the college experience. This is because with chronic and autoimmune conditions can come dietary limitations and restrictions.
For example, due to Crohn's Disease, I cannot eat gluten, lettuce, and I have to limit dairy and red meat. Well, when you are in college and trying to eat in the dining hall, this is basically everything they have. Our dining hall had a salad bar, pasta bar, grill, cereal bar, pizza bar, and a yogurt bar. Now, when you read this you may think I could have eaten at the grill, however, the grill had burgers and breaded fries, fried chicken, and occasionally grilled chicken.
If you lived on campus, you had to have a meal plan. However, I could not eat anything other than the occasional grilled chicken, so I tried to get out of it. When I met with the people at school, they told me that the grilled chicken is an option and therefore I must keep my meal plan. This means I was paying $1200 for a meal plan I could not even use, on top of having to buy groceries so I could eat. How does this make sense? You are making me keep a meal plan because once every other week you have something I can actually eat?
It was not until I moved off campus that I was allowed to cancel my meal plan and not pay an absurd amount for a meal plan I could not even enjoy. How is one meal accessible every other week reason enough to have a student keep an entire meal plan? Something has to change.