How colleges are changing up service for Ramadan this year

Dining programs are extending hours, offering meals to go and providing other accommodations for students observing Ramadan.
food for Ramadan
This year Ramadan is observed from March 22 through April 21. / Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims marked by a period of fasting, is observed this year from March 22 through April 21.

During the month, those who observe the holiday will fast throughout the day, having one meal before dawn, which is known as suhoor, and another after sunset, called iftar.

This schedule can make it difficult to find food options at college and universities, especially for students who rely on their schools' dining facilities. Ways to provide meals for observant students was a topic of conversation at a roundtable during FSD's recent Big 10 Conference Culinary Immersion at Rutgers University.

Here’s a look at how campuses are accommodating for Ramadan this year.

Extended hours

At the University of Michigan, the school’s largest dining facility will stay open until 9 p.m. throughout the month, and reopen early enough for suhoor.

At Ithaca College, Kosher Korner at Terrance Dining Hall will stay open until 8:30 p.m. The dining team will also provide options for students to take food to go for their morning meal.

Similarly, the University of Richmond in Virginia is offering a limited menu at one of its dining halls until 8:30 p.m.

Highlighting and expanding halal options

Many Muslims adhere to a halal diet, and while plenty of higher-ed campuses have halal options, some are making it easier for students to identify which foods they are able to eat.  

At the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, students can use the NetNutrition program to identify which menu offerings are halal. And at Missouri State University, the dining team will be serving halal proteins for late-night dining at one of its dining halls.

Meals to go

Some universities are opting for to-go options. The University at Albany is offering suhoor boxes every day throughout Ramadan, and Indiana University is allowing students to order meals ahead of time for both suhoor and iftar. At IU, the meals will be prepared halal, and include vegan and allergen-friendly options. The cost of each meal will be equivalent to one meal swipe. 

A dedicated prayer room

The University of Richmond is also reserving a room in its dining hall for prayer each evening during Ramadan from 7:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.



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