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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

CWU Dining Services Provides More Seats at the Table with Diet-Specific Menu Options

 CWU Dining Services has updated its menu to be more accommodating to dietary needs, such as serving more halal foods. Central Washington University Dining Services has rolled out a number of new programs this year to meet student needs and address dietary needs, such as the Purple Paw allergen program, an update to the allergen icons on menus, and the addition of Halal chicken in select locations within the SURC. 

Dining Services is proud to not only listen to student feedback, but also to implement change and make a difference in the dining experience on campus. These programs and offerings will fill a variety of dietary needs at CWU, further promoting our focus on building a culture that celebrates equity and belonging. Each of the new initiatives also aligns with CWU’s new vision to be a model learning community of equity and belonging.

Purple Paw Program

The Purple Paw program has one mission: to keep allergy-prone guests safe while dining at CWU. The program primarily serves dining patrons with gluten sensitivities and Celiac disease. 

A team of specially trained staff members are Purple Paw-certified and they follow strict procedures and equipment maintenance when prepping food items. These staff members are identified by Purple Paw uniform pins, and they use easily identifiable purple equipment and prep spaces that are different from standard equipment. 

Updated Allergen Menu Icons, New Wheat Icon

Each Dining Services menu features items that are identified by allergen icons. These icons are noted in an allergen strip, which identifies the top nine allergens, as well as calling attention to items as gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan. Wheat is now listed within the list of top allergens, ensuring that gluten-sensitive and gluten-free guests can make educated decisions about which items they consume.

Halal Meat Offerings

Dining Services aims to provide options that go beyond guest allergy needs. The team actively listens to student groups on campus to provide cultural and religious accommodations through food. “Halal” denotes or relates to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law, and items prepared as such will be designated on Dining Services menus.

Dining Services leadership also partnered with CWU Dean of Extended and Global Education Ediz Kaykayoglu to elevate the importance of this food need across campus. As a result, Dining Services introduced halal chicken options at campus favorites like El Gato and Quesadilla in Central Marketplace, and Sesame|Ginger in Holmes Dining Room. 

"We are so happy to have halal food options at CWU,” Kaykayoglu said. “We listened to the needs of our students and collaborated with the dining leadership. Many thanks to the dining team. Halal options increase on-campus dining inclusivity."

Media contact: Hayley Harrell, CWU Auxiliary Enterprises Marketing Manager

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