A taste of home

November 19, 2010

After every visit senior Bilaluddin Mohammed makes to his home near Chicago, he returns to campus with a cooler full of his mother’s cooking. It’s always enough food to feed an army, despite Mohammed’s slight frame, but it’s the only way he’s been able to follow a traditional Muslim diet while on campus.

Now, thanks to the University’s new halal food service, Mohammed’s mother can spend less time cooking during her son’s visits, and more time learning about the wonderful things he’s doing at Bradley – like working with University Dining Services to establish what is believed to be the first halal food service at an Illinois university.

Students can now get sandwiches and pizza that meet the guidelines of Islam, and the service will soon expand to include additional options like hot dogs and chicken patties. Any fruits, vegetables, and most dairy products are fair game in the Muslim diet. Across the country, many Muslim students are forced into a quasi-vegetarian lifestyle while attending college, so initiating a halal food service at Bradley has been a top priority among student leaders here for some time.

“No matter what background Muslim students are coming from, they will feel so comfortable here and so appreciative of this service because they were raised eating this way,” said Mohammed, who is president of the Muslim Student Association.

While Mohammed estimates some 40 students attending Bradley are already benefitting from this service, he has a keen sense of the far-reaching impact of a diverse food program.

“Better serving international students is a bonus. These students don’t face problems and issues with food overseas, so they’ve had to rely on us to let them know what’s permissible here,” said Mohammed. “I think they’ll really appreciate this.”

University Dining Services Executive Director Ron Gibson has spent his career accommodating the culinary needs of multicultural university campuses. Under his leadership, Bradley’s offerings have expanded dramatically this year, including a very successful kosher service unveiled in August.

“We know there is a very diverse group on college campuses nationwide, so to assist with the recruitment process we want to be able to offer foods that are familiar to these groups of young adults,” said Gibson.



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