Dining options limited for religious students

This week at Sharples, many students who were keeping kosher for the holiday had trouble finding enough food. There are a variety different ways to observe passover, from not prescribing to any dietary restrictions, to not coming in contact with any hametz, the word referring to the five grains—wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye—that are generally not allowed during passover. Some Jews often also omit rice, millet, corn, and legumes from their diet during the week. Monday’s lunch included pizza, pasta, sandwiches, couscous, and a bean mix. During dinner on Tuesday, the grill was closed in order to make more reubens. However, this served to further limit the available options. Indian bar, on Thursday night, provides few alternatives to rice and legumes, making it difficult for students who may want to share these meals with their friends. A lack of choices seems to relay the message that students who participate in religious observances are somehow separate from the larger campus community. There is a kosher for passover coop in Bond Hall this week for students who want to cook meals and eat together, but for those without time to devote to cooking and eating a family style dinner, it proved to be incredibly difficult to keep kosher.

We at the Phoenix reaffirm our support of the new dining options next year, especially since students will be enabled to use points in the ville. This will allow students to buy groceries and cook for themselves, or go out to eat when Sharples is closed without spending money. This will be a welcome change for religious students, since the Sharples dining staff often seem to be oblivious to the religious holidays that involve dietary restrictions. During lent this year, some students complained about meat being served every Friday night, leaving them few food options. Muslim students have complained about it being difficult to get food after sundown during their day fasts. We feel that though the dining plan may (perhaps unintentionally) alleviate the stresses of few dining options for students observing certain religious customs and practices, the college ought to take a more proactive approach in providing greater on-campus food options for these students.

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