Posts tagged ‘college’

Gluten-Free Campus Carnival: A Success Story

The following is a guest post by Dhanu Thiyagarajan, a sophomore at University of Pittsburgh and founder of Gluten Free My Campus, the university’s gluten-free student group.

October 16, 2012 was a great day for Gluten Free My Campus, University of Pittsburgh’s Gluten Free club. With tons of planning since the month of May, the club was able to host a wonderful Gluten-Free Awareness Carnival for the entire UPitt campus. The carnival consisted of more than 20 gluten-free related companies/organizations either in attendance or providing materials, and several gluten-free related carnival games for the students to enjoy while learning what gluten-free means! Between learning about various gluten-free companies, gaining gluten-free knowledge from the games, enjoying the free food and earning raffle tickets for our wonderful raffle prizes, the carnival was a great success with more than 500 Pitt students and faculty in attendance.

Gluten Free My Campus Carnival

The officers of Gluten Free My Campus

Planning started with brainstorming a list of companies and organizations on and off campus that we thought would enjoy being a part of our event and would help our goal to spread awareness – and of course, those companies have great gluten-free options! After contacting all of these companies/organizations, we got many replies and of course some rejections as well. It was a great honor to have all of these companies trusting a club on a college campus to host this kind of event, and we were glad to build contacts with such people, too. Susannah Faulkner from Udi’s Gluten-Free Foods was also a great contact who put us in contact with several other gluten-free companies that helped us out greatly.

Gluten-Free Carnival on UPitt Campus

Our first Gluten-Free Awareness Carnival was a big success!

This event could have not been such a great success without the support of other campus organizations and the members of the club. Getting companies to attend is one very important aspect, but getting people to come and enjoy the carnival is the biggest and most important part of this kind of event. We were able to get many organizations and companies to post our carnival’s flyer on their website along with local companies posting the flyer in their stores. We also posted flyers all over UPitt’s campus and had club members spread the word in person and through texting. We also had a Facebook event inviting much of Pitt’s campus. We had many campus organizations helping us out, specifically Sigma Gamma Gamma, a service sorority that provided us with most of the volunteers needed for the event.

Gluten-Free Carnival Prizes

Thank you to all the companies that donated prizes for our raffle!

For the future, we hope to expand our array of companies/organizations, and of course increase our attendance by spreading the word even more! With the support of these companies, campus organizations and of course all of our attendees, we were able to host our first Gluten-Free Awareness Carnival of hopefully many, and it was a great success. This was a day that Gluten Free My Campus will never forget!

– Dhanu

November 14, 2012 at 8:40 am 1 comment

Top 5 Things To Know About Being Gluten-Free Before Applying to Colleges

The following is a guest post by Dhanu Thiyagarajan, a sophomore at University of Pittsburgh and founder of Gluten Free My Campus, the university’s gluten-free student group. Dhanu is studying bioengineering and hopes to go to medical school to become an OB/GYN doctor. She has been gluten-free since December 2010.

Applying to college is a hard decision on its own, but it’s even harder being a college student on a gluten-free diet. These are five things that I found to be really important regarding the gluten-free diet when applying to colleges.

  1. On-Campus DiningThe dining halls and areas on campus should have safe gluten-free options available for you. It is very important to know that those who are cooking your food know how important it is to avoid cross-contamination.  If the college can’t offer this for you, make sure you can cancel your meal plan.

    College Students

    Ask if there’s a gluten-free student group on campus.

  2. Student Health CenterTalking to the dietitian is helpful, so they can help with your diet and can inform you accordingly of any updates regarding the gluten-free options on your campus. Make sure the health center accepts your insurance and can help you in case you get sick from accidental gluten ingestion or in general.
  3. Living in a DormIt is good to know what appliances are allowed in your dorm room.   A fridge with a freezer is your best friend!
  4. Campus SupportHaving a gluten-free club on campus is wonderful because you know there is support on campus, and people to help you with this adjustment.  Also, knowing if there is a decent amount of people on a gluten-free diet will allow you to be more confident that gluten-free living there is possible.
  5. Off-campus restaurantsSocializing with friends is a huge part of a college lifestyle and a lot of that is done during meals.  It is good to make sure that there are restaurants around where you can go, eat and socialize safely.

Different people have different needs for college, so it is important to prioritize your needs and choose your colleges accordingly.

– Dhanu

October 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

5 Resources to Tackle Gluten-Free Roadblocks

The gluten-free diet requires lifelong commitment, which means you’ll likely face a number of curveballs. Fortunately, with the right resources and plenty of support from family and friends, you can take on anything that life throws.

Here are 5 scenarios you may encounter while living gluten-free, and 5 resources from NFCA to help you through:

1. When You Have a Question About Nutrition…

Answers from a Dietitian image

Get Answers from a Dietitian. NFCA’s popular Q&A blog invites you to submit your general questions about nutrition and the gluten-free diet. Not sure which foods to eat when you want more Vitamin D, or how you can gain weight without loading up on sugary gluten-free junk? Ask away!

2. When You’re Struggling in the Kitchen…

Alterantive Appetites

Watch Alternative Appetites. Chef Dan Kohler takes you step-by-step through gluten-free recipes. And these aren’t just stir-fries. You’ll learn how to make things like Amaranth and Black Bean Salad or Roasted Garlic White Bean dip from scratch.

3. When Your Grocery List is Getting Dull…

Gluten-Free Hot Products

Browse Gluten-Free Hot Products. Our team of staff and volunteers test the latest gluten-free products to hit shelves, including some gems you can only find online. Take a look and find a new favorite to perk up your pantry.

4. When You’re Heading to College…

GREAT U cover

Read GREAT U. You grew up with a supportive family and rarely had to worry about what to eat. Now, you’ll be on your own and on the hunt for gluten-free options. Flip through this digital magazine for quick gluten-free recipes, tips from real gluten-free college students, and advice on navigating the dining hall.

5. When Your Non-Gluten-Free Friend Wants to Cook You a Meal…

Entertaining Gluten-Free Guests

Download Entertaining Gluten-Free Guests. If your friend is new to gluten-free, this guide can get him or her started in the right direction. Offer to help your friend prepare each dish. That way, you can ensure that the food is safe while giving your friend a 1-on-1 course in gluten-free.

May 18, 2012 at 10:47 am 1 comment

Meatless Mondays: A Challenge for Myself

[This post was written by Kelly Clayton, a college senior living with celiac disease. Kelly will be working with NFCA through the Spring 2012 semester, and we’re glad to have her on board! To learn more about Kelly, read her article on Living Gluten-Free in College and Being a Scout with Celiac.]

I have always felt this pain inside when eating a hamburger, steak, chicken or any type of meat. I consider myself an environmental advocate and try to recycle all things, shop at thrift stores, buy locally and make every facet of my life sustainable. I have thought about going vegetarian several times within the past few years, and I just can’t bring myself to it. I like meat too much. Also, my Mom would knock me over the head if she knew I was giving up meat.

Being gluten-free is difficult enough, and when you are gluten-free, meat becomes a staple you depend on.

This past school year, starting in September, I decided that I could make an impact by going meatless for just one day. Since I am completely dependent upon my college’s cafeteria, a lot of my meal options are what they are cooking, so sometimes I don’t have the choice to go meatless. I decided to join the revolution called Meatless Mondays. It is a movement where people sign up online and pledge to be meatless on Mondays and in return the site tells you all about the energy you are saving.

Meatless Monday logo

One day a week, cut out meat.

The point of going meatless on Mondays is to get people to cut their carbon footprint and to reduce the risk of heart problems. Heart problems have been linked to overconsumption of red meat, so by cutting one whole day of meat, it helps your heart. The site says they chose Mondays because people are more likely to follow a strict diet and less likely to cheat at the beginning of the week.

My progress:

My diets on Mondays have consisted of salads, rice, green peppers, egg sandwiches (on gluten-free bread), gluten-free cereal, yogurt, rice cakes (too many, I’m addicted) and gluten-free multigrain crackers. While this may not sound very hearty and filling, believe me it is enough.

I really enjoy Mondays because it makes me think out of the box and get creative with my food. I am starting to really enjoy omelets, and I’m finding new fillings to put in them!

My next challenge is going to be going meatless for Mondays and Wednesdays. I am going to try to start adding on more days in order to save more energy and reduce my carbon footprint! I am not a big cook (only because I live on a college campus), so the cafeteria rules my diet! If you have any meatless suggestions, I am going to need some help!

– Kelly Clayton, NFCA volunteer

December 12, 2011 at 10:20 am 2 comments


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