The dining halls are new and improved this year.
A number of efforts are underway to make the dining halls healthier and more appealing to students. The dining services crew here at UW-Whitewater are making healthy changes to the selection of food on campus. Rachael Omdoll, UW-Whitewater’s dietician, is hard at work trying to surround students with healthy food choices.
“One of the biggest pushes last semester for me was to have more vegetable options. There’s steamed vegetables at every station now so that there’s plenty of healthy vegetables,” Omdoll said.
Finding a way to get students to eat healthy on campus is a big task. Dining Services here at UW-Whitewater handles it well, however, as with all programs, there are some drawbacks.
Students that don’t have to watch what they eat have an advantage when it comes to finding a diverse variety of meals. There are a number of different conditions and allergies that force students and staff to watch their diet.
Anastasia Luedtke, a student on a strict gluten-free diet, is happy with UW-Whitewater’s gluten-free food selection on campus. “The pizza and other options at Olive were good, but that’s a different restaurant now. Erbert and Gerbert’s sandwiches are always good. The Nest in Esker was good too, but sometimes the options weren’t my favorite.”
According to Omdoll, Esker Dining Hall has the biggest selection of gluten-free food items on campus, via “The Nest” and a “Foundations” section for hot, fresh, allergen-free food. Esker is also nut-free. A “Foundations” section can also be found in Drumlin Dining Hall.
To combat the problem of students feeling left out, Omdoll suggests visiting the comments section on the Dining Services web page. Feedback is vital in understanding what students want to eat and accommodating everyone’s needs on campus.
Esker Dining Hall General Manager, Matthew Bennet also wanted to stress the importance of student feedback. “If we didn’t get the student feedback, good and bad, we wouldn’t know what direction we need to go, or what things we need to look at. Student feedback is very important for us and we take it very seriously,” said Bennet.
Esker Dining Hall is also boasting a smoker and a new sautee station where students can get their own ingredients and cook their own food on the spot. Look for UW-Whitewater Dining Services on Facebook to keep up with new dining programs sponsored by campus, such as Italian Night, Meatless Mondays and Tofu Thursdays.
For students with food allergies, ‘The Nest’ is available.
‘The Nest’ is a small area set apart from the rest of the buffet in Esker where there are extra precautions taken to avoid common food allergens for affected students.
There is a short interview with someone from the Center of Students with Disabilities to be able to use the area, but the rewards are well worth it.