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Neili Eggert, Dalton Schreiner, Darrian Houser, Austin Chandler, and Josh

Cowles
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
UWRT 1102-055 TR 2:00-3:15
Closer to Kosher
Broad Theme/Goal:
The University of North Carolina at Charlottes mission statement
states UNC-Charlotte maintains a particular commitment to addressing the
cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, and social needs of
the greater Charlotte region. However, despite such laudable goals, we
believe that the university has failed to provide basic dietary needs to Hindu,
Muslim and Jewish students. The aim of our research is to shed light on this
injustice, and to be a tool to advocate for change.
Students cannot keep a Kosher diet on campus because there is no Kosher kitchen,
Kosher catering, or Kosher food offered by the University or Chartwells.
In his book "To Be a Jew" (an excellent resource on traditional Judaism), Rabbi Hayim
Halevy Donin suggests that the dietary laws are designed as a call to holiness. The ability
to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, pure and defiled, the sacred and
the profane, is very important in Judaism. (Judaism 101)
Eating Kosher is a fundamental part of the cultural and religious identity of the modern
Jewish person. This topic should be extremely important to UNC-Charlotte because, Jewish
students, Muslim students, Hindu students, and students who have certain food allergies would
greatly benefit from having a Kosher kitchen and Kosher food on campus. Adding a kosher food

option on campus would help students save time and money by not having to go off campus to
meet their dietary needs. If you take the student body as a whole, undergraduate and graduate
students, our community has approximately 27,000 students, one-third of which, or 9,000
students, are Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu and would benefit from having Kosher catering, a Kosher
kitchen, or Kosher food on campus. If you take the 9,000 students and assume only half of these
student lives on campus that leaves over 4,500 students who must go out of their way in order to
meet their basic dietary needs. The cheapest meal plan offered by Chartwells is $2,035 for
students, which when multiplied by 4,500 students equals $9,157,500 in lost revenue for the
campus and Chartwells. These numbers are obviously best case estimates, however it still
demonstrates how both the student body and administration can benefit from a kosher food
option. Providing kosher food is not only necessary for the students on campus, but also
represents a significant business opportunity for Chartwells. By providing food for kosher
students and creating more revenue for UNCC, our research will be both beneficial to the student
body and UNCC.
Research Questions:
In order to facilitate our goal of providing an advocacy tool, and to inform our peers, we
have drafted a series of questions related to access and availability of kosher food on campus.
These questions will serve as a guideline for our investigation into this complex topic.

Why is there no Kosher kitchen on campus for students who wish to keep a Kosher diet, a
certain religious diet, or students with certain food allergies?

Why does Chartwells not offer Kosher catering for students or student clubs?

Why is there not a Kosher vending machine or Kosher section at Outtakes?

Why do student clubs who need to keep Kosher or a certain religious practice have to get
an exemption from Chartwells for catering at each event when Chartwells cannot provide
the food?

Why does the University administrators allow Chartwells to alienate students by not
providing Kosher food, a Kosher kitchen, and Kosher catering?
In order to answer these questions we plan to use a variety of tools and methods, both

online and in person. We have created an online survey asking students if they would like to see
a Kosher meal option and have a Kosher kitchen on campus which would benefit the campus
community. Unfortunately, due to time constraints our surveys are limited to online only,
however most students are active online so we believe that, although not optimal, online surveys
will still be sufficient to get a full picture. We have created interview questions to gain the
perspective of members of the Jewish club, Muslim club, and Hindu club on campus. As well,
we will interview the person in charge of the Religious & Spiritual Life office and the
Multicultural Resource Center on campus, the head of Chartwells at the university, and the
administration at the university to discuss potential next steps in solving this problem. We will
also have a discussion with a local Rabbi to discuss kosher laws, and how the greater Jewish
community deals with this problem.

Interview/Survey:
The best way to research the topic of gaining a Kosher kitchen, Kosher catering, and
having Kosher food on campus is to research other campuses in the state. By searching through
public records, we will be able to gain insight into how other campuses have gained or try to gain
Kosher food on campus. By asking a Rabbi or Imam about religious dietary restrictions, the

more knowledge you gain on the subject. We will also investigate Chartwells as a company and
see if any other schools they are contacted with offer Kosher meals. By using the library
research site or Google scholar you can research Kosher food. These sites can help you gain the
background knowledge necessary for knowing what Kosher food is and why it is important to
certain religious groups. Reading Kosher cookbooks is another way to research the topic and to
learn how to cook Kosher food.
We have also created a survey which will be sent out through the social media platforms
of Facebook, Email, and Twitter. We expect to have difficulty with students filling out the
survey due to lack of interest. From the results gathered so far on the survey we made, around
eighty-percent of people on campus do not know how difficult it is to obtain food based on
special dietary needs and wants UNC-Charlotte to accommodate these students (Schreiner,
Dalton. Kosher and Religious Dietary Foods. Survey. 21 March 2015). Most of the participants
that took the survey live on campus while eating on campus regularly. These students most
likely do not have any way of getting their dietary needs from off campus sources.

Challenges:
Some of the challenges we face in this research are students do not regularly check their
email, so they might not answer the survey sent out to them. A response from Chartwells might
not come in time for the due date of this assignment. The university administration might not be
receptive to this research. Knowledge from previous experiences might show that the university
does not care for the Jewish students and their religious restrictions. Even though there are some
challenges, we believe this research topic is one which must go forward. There are close to 9,000
students who are affected by the lack of a Kosher kitchen, Kosher catering, and a Kosher food
option on campus. As part of this community and the university community we must stand up for

each other. If we do not stand up for each other than what are we truly achieving here at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte?
Research Sources:

Heart to Hearts Map of Kosher Food on Campus


o theheart2heartproject.org/koshermap/

We zoomed in and just looked on North Carolina.

Tablet Magazine (A New Read on Jewish Life)


o tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/160129/kosher-on-campus

Article for college students who keep Kosher on campus. Table of


campuses which offer Kosher food from 1953 to present.

STAR-K ONLINE
o www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-FirstTasteofjudaism.htm

It helps to certify Kosher dining halls, concession stands, and take out
food locations on campus in the northeast.

Duke Student Affairs


o studentaffairs.duke.edu/sites/default/files/u7/sh_kosherhealthy.pdf

Explanation of Kosher law ands Dukes dining options for those who keep
Kosher on campus.

Northeastern University
o www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/08/international/village-new-dining-options/

Kosher to go station at new dining hall located on the campus of


Northeastern University.

Jewish Journal
o www.jewishjournal.com/food/article/food_trucks_have_kosher_will_travel

Article about Kosher food trucks that stop of university campuses.

New Voices (News and views of campus jews)


o newvoices.org/2012/02/15/0125/

Article about Kosher food not just being for jewish students on campus.
Northwestern University is used as an example,

Chabad
o www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/789559/jewish/Kosher-Options-Expandon-Campuses.htm

Article about new Kosher eateries on American university campuses.


University of Miami is one of the examples.

Chartwells Options at UNC-Charlotte


o www.dineoncampus.com/unccharlotte/

We used this for meal plan prices, places to eat on campus, and catering
options offered by Chartwells.

o aux.uncc.edu/dining

Used to find vegetarian and vegan options on campus.

o uncc.catertrax.com

Chartwells UNC-Charlotte catering online ordering site.

o www.dineoncampus.com/unccharlotte/show.cfm?cmd=residents

Meal Plan prices for freshmen and upperclassmen living on campus that
require a meal plan purchase. We Used the cheapest freshmen and the
second most expensive upperclassmen of $2,035 per semester for our
figures above.

Judaism 101 describing the dietary laws and their importance:


o

"Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws." Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary
Laws. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

Kosher Chartwells options at other campuses


o depalcatering.com/menu/specials

Kosher menu offered with 4 day minimum notice. This is an example of


Chartwells offering Kosher catering for students, faculty/staff, and student
organizations.

o www.dineoncampus.com/umbc/show.cfm?cmd=kosherDining

Example of Kosher dining offered through Chartwells at UMBC that is in


the University of Maryland system.

o unihub.mdx.ac.uk/mdx/announcements/chartwellsnewrangefeb13.aspx

Chartwells introduces new Halal (Islamic version of Kosher) and kosher


range at Middlesex University in London, England.