CDS, MSA and RHA Work Together to Support MU Students’ Dining Needs

Danielle Katz- MUTV 23 News Staff Writer

During MSA’s annual whiteboard event last year, where students are encouraged to write their most important problems on a whiteboard, one of the most prevalent issues written was the lack of vegan dining options on campus.

Members of the Jewish Student Organization and Muslim Student Organization have expressed additional concerns over difficulties in maintaining diets in accordance with religious restrictions.

This information was brought to the MSA Student Affairs Committee. Committee chair Kevin Carr and MSA senators have since worked to ensure that changes will be made.

“We gathered student input and one of the biggest concerns was the lack of vegan dining and then we started looking into it more and discovered that Mizzou is one of seven campuses in the SEC that don’t offer a kosher vegan station and so that pushed the need to have this happen,” Carr said.

Pavilion at Dobbs will undergo future renovations and reopen in 2017. The remodel will have a vegan station with its own color-coded utensils and dishwasher that will remain separate from other areas of the dining hall to ensure that there is no cross-contamination of meat, dairy, or any other products.

“It’s campus dining services working in partnership with students to provide what they want and need,” said Julaine Kiehn, director of Campus Dining Services.

“It’s really just honoring their lifestyle choices” Carr said. “It’s allowing them to practice their faith and religion without changing it, and it allows them to live their lives in a way that shows we respect them.”

Currently, students can use the Campus Dining Services website to look up what food items are safe for them to eat based on dietary restrictions. Zoutrition has a database of what is served daily in each restaurant on campus, except for Sunshine Sushi, and provides a complete nutritional breakdown for each product. Students can sort through menus for food items that fit their dietary needs

This information also is available at a kiosk in Dobbs, where there is an iPad set to the Zoutrition resource that can be used by anyone once they have swiped into the dining hall. The kiosk has been there for several years, and more kiosks will be implemented in dining halls in the future.

“The main important thing about what we’re working on is to show the students how the administration cares for what they think and what they need and to make sure that their needs are being met,” said Rasheeq Nizam, Muslim Student Organization education chair. “Showing students this makes them feel like their voices are heard. Their concerns are relevant to administration.”

For areas in dining halls with static menus, there will be clearly visible nutrition information, and for areas with changing menus, new printed materials will be made and placed in these stations daily, as long as that is what students want.

Dobbs also serves as a pilot location for this project. Campus Dining Services currently provides printed nutrition information based on their recipes at each point of sale. If MU receives positive feedback, then CDS will continue this service.

“As far as replicating or being able to add it to the other locations, it will take a little bit longer on the kiosks,” Kiehn said. “The printed materials can happen within days if we decide that’s the direction to go. We just want to see what students think, so RHA and MSA really would like feedback from students.”

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