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Widener Dining Introduces New Food Options and Services

Emily Barrett, assistant director of communications
A digital design showing what renovations in University Center will look like after construction.
New dining options and renovated lounge areas in University Center, as pictured above, are two of the many changes that are coming this fall.

Renovations are underway in the Pride Café to bring a new allergen-free dining station to main campus through the True Balance program. 

For the 15 million Americans affected by food allergies, dining options can often be limiting. With True Balance, students, faculty and staff can safely enjoy meals free from ingredients that contain the seven food allergies: peanut, tree nut, shellfish, egg, milk, soy, and gluten. 

“The menu, recipes, and ingredients that are purchased are all carefully selected so that they eliminate allergen-containing ingredients,” said Chrystina Kovatich, general manager of Widener Dining.

While designed to meet the needs of those with dietary needs, the new station is available to all diners.
“The True Balance station is not just necessarily for people that have allergens,” said Kovatich. “It’s a new station for everyone to enjoy clean, delicious, fresh food.”

Cross contamination during meal preparation is a leading concern for people with food allergies. According to Kovatich, providing a dedicated station in the cafe “is really going to allow us to use a designated area and equipment to prepare the food and eliminate the potential for cross-contamination.”

The new dining option will join an array of additional changes taking place within University Center, including a Starbucks, new eateries, and revamped lounge and study areas throughout the facility.

The Widener Dining team also welcomed a certified dietician role led by Jen Daniels. Daniels will be available on campus to offer nutritional guidance to all students through personal consultation and health and wellness programming. 

“Having a dietician on campus expands and allows us to focus not just on nutrition but to accommodate any student with special dietary needs,” Kovatich said.

Courtney Kelly, executive director of admissions, says the changes address many concerns expressed by parents and new students, particularly those with food sensitivities and allergies.

“For many students, college marks the first time that they are in complete control of their food choices, which can be daunting,” said Kelly. “The arrival of an allergen-free option makes dining easy and safe for our students and ensures parents that their child’s needs are met while they’re away from home."

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