The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

MUW accommodates MSMS students’ special diets

Graphic by Michelle Yang
Due to MSMS’s location on a residential college campus, students eat their meals at Hogarth Cafeteria. Does the Hogarth Cafeteria fulfill the required dietary restrictions of MSMS students?

Located on the Mississippi University for Women’s campus, MSMS has access to dining services — with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner meals — provided by MUW Hogarth Dining Hall. Students are welcome to sit down and enjoy a warm buffet before class, or they can choose the take-out option and eat elsewhere. 

Many students, however, have dietary preferences restricting them from eating certain foods or particular ingredients. Some of the most common special diets include vegetarianism and veganism. 

According to a schoolwide poll that received 111 responses, 24 students — almost 20% of participants — said they have a non-standard diet. A majority said the MUW dining hall sufficiently accommodates their dietary requirements.

Senior Noah Lee said he combats lactose intolerance by avoiding dairy products and regularly taking lactase pills. 

“I have to manage my [food] portions,” Lee said. “If there’s a day with really great-looking clam chowder, strawberry shortcake or chicken spaghetti, I’ll have to choose one instead of [eating] all three.”

In addition to health conditions, some students follow specific food restrictions for religious practices and other personal reasons. Senior Rushyendranath Nalamalapu said he is forbidden to eat cow or swine meat. As a result, Nalamalapu said he has developed an instinct to be wary of foods containing these meats.

“I avoid using utensils that have grease from other animal meats and double check ingredients in snacks for gelatin,” Nalamalapu said.

Rachel Pitman, sous-chef and catering manager for MUW dining services, provided insight on how different dietary preferences are accommodated through meal selection at MUW and said the cafeteria does its best to serve a variety of items to students while still taking into account their preferences. 

“We offer some special items such as veggie burgers upon request, and we have a rotation of other vegetarian dishes offered on the Chef’s Table line … such as tofu, jackfruit, eggplant [and so on].” Pitman said. 

I avoid using utensils that have grease from other animal meats and double check ingredients in snacks for gelatin.

— Rushyendranath Nalamalapu

Junior Olivia Cochran, a vegetarian, said she appreciates the effort MUW makes to offer special foods for those with special diets.

“I’m glad I have several food options available to me each day,” Cochran said. “Tofu crumble is one of my favorites.”

To ensure a nutritional variety, MUW’s dining hall offers protein, starch and vegetables each day. In addition, pizza, burgers and salads are always offered.

MUW Dining Services collaborates with Sodexo, a food services and catering company, to bring an extensive variety of meals for students, faculty and the local Columbus community.

“Sodexo has a nationwide five-week menu cycle with dishes and recipes developed to meet specific nutritional and variety needs,” Pitman said. “We are given this set menu, and then we have the option to edit the menu as it fits our students’ needs.”

MUW catering staff use a variety of diet-specific recipes. In the circumstance where a certain product or element cannot be obtained, staff can modify recipes.

“We are happy to meet with any students with dietary preferences to go over our food labeling and signage, menu rotations, station offerings [and so forth], so they can see what we have to offer them as well as voice any concerns or suggestions they may have for us,” Pittman said.

In addition to the daily menu located at each station, MUW Dining Services posts weekly menus on its website for students who prefer to plan ahead. Through this website, students are able to filter foods and ingredients, calculate calories and access other features. 

“We are here to feed the students and are always looking for ways we can improve and make more food that you all enjoy,” Pitman said.

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About the Contributor
Michelle Yang, Staff Writer
Michelle Yang is a junior from Tupelo. In The Vision, she enjoys writing about a little bit of everything and jumping down rabbit holes. Michelle is a part of Future Physicians of America, Interact Club and Mu Alpha Theta. When she is not buried in academics, she loves to binge-watch true crime documentaries and travel.

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