The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 12 Out Now! Good Luck with Exams and Safe Travels!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

What’s cooking at Wofford? A look into how Burwell caters to dietary needs

With the reopening of Burwell in 2022 there have been more improved vegetarian and vegan options, but the need for options for these dietary restrictings seem to still be lacking. Photo by Anna Lee Hoffman

Contributed by Donner Rizzo-Banks

At Wofford College, Burwell is the largest dining hall, stretching over two floors with six different stations for dining, open seven days a week. Executive Sous Chef, Josh Bacca, gave a brief overview of each station, starting on the bottom floor.

“First is our Clarity station. Free of the eight — soon to be nine — major allergies. We also have our gluten sensitive and dairy sensitive items (located in the refrigerator in this area),” Bacca said.

Story continues below advertisement

The FDA’s eight allergens include milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Sesame will be added to the list in 2023 (FDA).

“We have our pizza and pasta station,” Bacca said.“There will always be cheese and pepperoni pizza, as well as a marinara pasta.”

Bacca went on to list the upstairs options: the nutribar, which is for salads and sandwiches; the Fusion station that serves international food; and the grilling station. He also mentioned the Roots station, which always has vegan options.

Bacca gave more background on the choices offered by culinary services.

“We’re on a four-week rotation, so it’s all built out as a menu for four weeks. On week five, we start over,” Bacca said. “If you go on the Wofford website and go to dining, you can view the culinary services site.”

The site he was referring to is, a good place to view what’s cooking on campus.

Bacca also emphasized the importance of being nut-free, with the exception of the peanut butter bar upstairs.

However, not everyone sees the dining options at Burwell as wholly inclusive.

Grayson McDowell ‘24 is a vegan of two years and the creator of the Wofford Vegans and Vegetarians group on campus.

“Burwell offers very little plant-based protein, or when it does, the protein is served with some kind of dairy product,” McDowell said,

‘Plant-based’ has been a hot term in the nutrition community over the past several years. The FDA defines plant-based as any food “consisting mainly of ingredients derived from plants and does not contain animal ingredients of any kind.”

McDowell noted that Burwell was doing better in the spring during the renovation, with a menu that had more vegan choices. Since then, he has witnessed a limited number of plant-based options. He also mentioned other issues, such as labeling of menu items.

“Thank goodness that my veganism is a personal choice and that I am not actually allergic to dairy,” McDowell said. “On the other hand, vegans do, in fact, get sick when they eat dairy or meat, especially if they haven’t eaten animal products in a long while.”

Another student, Nicholas Jacobs ‘23, who is also vegan by choice, had similar thoughts to share.

“Personally, if I was allergic, I wouldn’t eat at Burwell,” Jacobs said.

Burwell is only one of several different options for eating on campus. There is also Zach’s and the Galleria. Both of these have some menu choices for vegetarian and vegan eating, although they are far more limited.

Both Jacobs and McDowell noted, for instance, that the veggie burger at the Galleria is vegan, but comes on a bun made with dairy products.

“This is not just a problem for vegans and vegetarians,” McDowell said. “It’s really a problem for anyone who is health-conscious or a meat-reducer.”

“The thing is, a good proportion of students are vegan,” Jacobs said. “More people are choosing to go that way.”

McDowell has found that many people were interested in the plant-based movement, and several of his friends learned a lot just by being exposed to his diet.

“The standard American diet is saturated in cholesterol, saturated fats and sodium,” McDowell said. “Although we may call veganism ‘nontraditional,’ the standard American diet is an aberration in view of all human diets.”

The good news is that both students have seen improvement and have hopes for more steps in the plant-based direction.

When asked how he might improve the dining options, Jacobs said, “Burwell struggles on the protein side of things, so adding more vegan and vegetarian high protein foods.”

“Compared to other local college dining halls, from what I’ve heard, Burwell has been exemplary,” McDowell said, in reference to the renovation menu last spring. With a trackable menu, a good AVI team and people like McDowell and Jacobs on campus, there’s hope for some change.

“The real question,” McDowell said, “is whether Wofford is committed to education — not just in the classroom — but also in the dining hall.”

Donate to Old Gold & Black
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
Our Goal