In elementary school, cafeterias were divided by 10-year-old friend groups and allergies. There was always a group of people sitting at a table with a sign on it reading “peanut free,” accompanied by an image of a peanut with a large X over it. However, as students grew older, we grew more capable of managing the consumption of peanuts around those who have allergies. If you have a friend with a peanut allergy, you won’t eat peanut butter around them, you won’t force-feed them peanut butter, and you won’t share utensils with them that are contaminated by peanut butter. Yet it seems Colorado College would like us to travel back, past the peanut-free tables, and eliminate peanut butter jars.
Rastall has altogether recently gotten rid of peanut butter. All that exists now is jelly, Nutella, and sunflower seed butter. If you would like peanut butter, you must ask an employee, and they will hand you an individually packed nugget of Skippy. While I understand it is important to make sure that every student can eat safely in Rastall, I find it to be rather absurd that they have gotten rid of peanut butter. I believe there are many other possible solutions to ensuring that every student has a safe eating experience.
To begin, I wanted to make sure I was not being completely unreasonable. I asked a few students who have peanut allergies if they ever had issues with peanut butter in Rastall. Sophomore Ebba Green said, “I didn’t even know they had peanut butter in Rastall until second block of this year. After that, I just did not go and eat the peanut butter.” Allie Thuet, another sophomore, said, “I have never felt victimized by the peanut butter in Rastall. I sit with my friends, and they eat it all the time. It has never been an issue.” It’s important to note that other students could have a more severe allergy than one of these two students, but they both make noteworthy points that apply to any student with an allergy. Green did not even notice the peanut butter. It is towards the side of Rastall and easy to avoid. Additionally, Thuet stated that her friends eat peanut butter around her all the time. Rastall did not completely eliminate peanut butter. One can still consume it if they request it, and I imagine that some of their dishes contain peanut contamination. So, as Thuet does, a student must still actively avoid coming in contact with peanut butter.
On top of that, I believe that making the peanut butter accessible in small containers may make a student with an allergy less likely to see that a fellow student is consuming peanut butter.
There are a number of other possible solutions to the peanut butter problems. We could return to elementary school times when peanut-free tables existed and create a few peanut-free tables/zones in Rastall. Or, perhaps, peanut butter could be held in squeezable bottles, so that silverware contamination is not an issue at all. Additionally, peanut butter could be limited to a countertop that is more secluded than where it used to reside: a table by the fountain drinks which just holds peanut butter, while the other butters and jellies, not containing peanuts, remain where they currently are. This would ensure that a student with an allergy would only come in contact with peanut butter if they actively seek it out.
I love peanut butter. I would say it makes up a large part of my diet, so I am very adamant about getting the easy access to peanut butter back. And I honestly do not believe that Rastall’s current solution really aids anyone. Those with allergies can still easily come in contact with it, and it makes those who like peanut butter sad. At the end of the day, Rastall needs to reevaluate their current peanut butter solution, and I would be happy to help them.