Kent State Opens First Gluten-Free Dining Hall

College cafeteria

As the 2016 academic year commences, Kent State becomes the country’s first university to feature an entirely gluten-free dining hall on campus.

Certified gluten free

The number of gluten-intolerant students arriving on campus continues to grow each year. As a result, the school restructured its Prentice Café to meet the increasing demand for gluten-free foods. It is now the first dining hall in the nation to be certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Food Services Certification Program, a food safety program offered through the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Finding suitable gluten-free food options presents a challenge, especially when dining away from home. Kent State aims to make college life easier for students who need or prefer gluten-free foods. All menu items are gluten free at Prentice Café.

Gluten-free dining for all

While gluten intolerance has garnered lots of attention in recent years, addressing the needs of students who have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten still presents a challenge. Students often are self-conscious about special dietary needs. They might hesitate to self-identify as gluten intolerant because they don’t want to attract attention. This was something administrators considered when planning the new Prentice Café.

Anyone is welcome to dine at Prentice Café, which accepts meal plans, cash and credit cards. In addition to every item being gluten free, the menu also features a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as foods that support a healthy lifestyle.

The newly certified gluten-free dining hall opened on Aug. 29 and will host a grand opening on Sept. 7. Open to all students, faculty, staff and other members of the Kent State community, the event will have opportunities to sample items, as well as educational displays and prizes.

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  • Carrie Berkstresser

    Auburn University was the first college to open an entirely gluten free dining option. Although we don’t have dining halls, it was still such a relief to know that there was a restaurant on campus that I could safely eat at.