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Meal Options for UMBC Muslim Students During Ramadan

Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayer observed by Muslims worldwide. This year, the holiday is from Apr. 12 to May 12,  just in time for finals. To accommodate those celebrating Ramadan, University of Maryland, Baltimore County dining services is providing on-campus students additional meal options. These include Halal choices and later dining hours for those who fast.  

True Grit’s Dining Hall is offering more Halal entrees and is now open until 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday. 

The Commons, Retriever Marketplace and Late Night will offer more options as well. The Commons will be using Halal proteins during Student Choice and offering pre-packaged Student Choice meals from True Grit’s. Late Night will also be offering these pre-packaged meals.

Sophomore Computer Science major and Student Government Association Senator Mariah Qureshi said that Halal entrees are now available for lunch and dinner carryout. Additionally, True Grit’s Dining Hall and Late Night are providing overnight oats and fruit cups. Qureshi explained that this is important because many Muslim students wake up at 4 am to eat before fasting.

Junior Biology and Global Studies double major and SGA Senator Menna Nasser described the dining hall’s enthusiasm to accommodate students celebrating Ramadan on campus.

“It was always their intention to provide for their Muslim students and they’ve been getting really good at it…like how we saw Halal Shack that came a year ago,” Nasser explained. 

Halal Shack was one of the first UMBC restaurants with full Halal options. According to Nasser, Halal Shack provided an alternative to the dining hall.

Since opening Halal Shack, UMBC has continued to expand dietary accommodations for Muslim students, and Qureshi and Nasser are working to spread the news about these new options. 

“I’ve heard personally from so many students that they don’t trust a lot of food on campus,”  said Qureshi. “That’s kind of a slap in the face to the students like us who were working with the dining committee and knowing what actually goes behind that entire process,” she added. 

When asked about accommodations that UMBC might provide in the future, Nasser talked about the possibility of expanding the current options after everyone returns to campus. 

“When we are back in person and D-hall might not have to be takeout anymore, we might specifically do something so that we can all break our fasts. Hopefully there will be other representatives that will be able to communicate with them on that regard,” Nasser explained. 

Both Nasser and Qureshi encourage all Muslim students on-campus to reach out and communicate any further accommodation requests to help make the options on campus the most accessible they can be. They also encourage students to spread the word about the current options that exist for Muslim students, especially during Ramadan.