Allergies & Intolerances

Swarthmore College is a residential and intentional community. Living and dining together are important ways of fostering interaction among all members of the student body. The College has a single dining hall that encourages interactions among those whose academic and extracurricular pursuits might not regularly bring them into contact with one another. 

Communal dining provides many opportunities for fellowship, but might present questions for students with food allergies and intolerances. We do not offer separate facilities with different food offerings at Swarthmore. Rather, we work collaboratively with individual students with documented medical conditions to identify options that will meet their needs within the institutional setting.

We ask any student with a food allergy and/or intolerance who anticipates needing dining accommodation to submit a food allergy/intolerance form to Dining Services to start the process. You may email the form to dining@swarthmore.edu; send to Dining Services, Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore PA 19081; or drop it off at the office in Sharples Dining Hall. For certain accommodations, the College may require medical documentation and may also connect you with our Student Health Service and Student Disability Service so that we can best meet your needs. Options available include, but are not limited to:

  1. Access to The Free Zone. Opened in the Fall of 2013, the Free Zone is designed for students who need to eat an entirely gluten free diet. Gluten free hot foods, staples and desserts are available in the Free Zone, as well as equipment for students to prepare their own items 
  2. Individual meal preparation. This can be arranged on an as-needed basis for students with severe allergies - for instance to milk or nuts
  3. Pack out meals. If you're traveling with a sports team or other group, you may arrange in advance to have a meal packed out that has been prepared appropriately for your specific food allergy and/or intolerance

Most students, with consultation from our staff, find they can navigate the regular offerings safely, and don't require additional arrangements.

Some general information about Dining at Swarthmore:

  • Sharples Dining Hall is a peanut-free facility. We do not use any products that contain peanuts. We do, however, use some items that are made in outside facilities that handle peanuts.  
  • Serving lines and individual dishes in Sharples are labeled for common allergens: Milk, Egg, Wheat, Soy, Shellfish, Fish and Tree Nuts. When visiting our dining facilities, please ask to speak to a manager if you have questions about menu items or ingredients.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at every meal in Sharples, including in the Free Zone.
  • There are packaged gluten-free products available at each campus coffee bar and at Essie Mae's snack bar

We recognize that both returning and new students experience an evolving range of food allergies and intolerances.  Please contact us to discuss any concerns you may have with regard to your particular needs or dining options.