As of the Fall 2023 semester, Cal Poly Pomona Enterprises Dining Services has taken a significant step toward inclusivity and diversity by offering fresh, locally sourced halal meals at Centerpointe‘s global station every day. Halal, derived from Islamic teachings in the Quran, translates to “permissible” in English, and adheres to specific guidelines in the production and handling of food.
The initiative to introduce the halal station at Centerpointe began with concerns voiced by students who felt there were limited halal-friendly options on campus. Executive Chef Kristopher Arguin, recognizing the need for change, collaborated closely with the Muslim Student Association to address this gap.
“Knowing our halal students were extremely limited regarding food options, I saw an opportunity to change this while also introducing new modern dishes to the entire student community,” said Arguin.
In collaboration with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Arguin began hosting open forum meetings and engaging in direct input from the organization to curate the current menu offerings at the station.
“Feedback from the student body regarding what they need and when will assist in speeding up the process and broaden the reach this program has to offer,” said Arguin. “Currently, I am working with the MSA on campus for this type of feedback, but feedback from any and all students is more than welcome.”
Arguin shared his inspiration behind the global station.
“I wanted to create a dining space where Halal options are not just available but celebrated,” he said.
The global station features a fusion-style menu that incorporates flavors from various countries, including India, Pakistan, Iran, and Morocco. Dishes like ghormeh sabzi, lamb rogan josh, and biryani chicken provide comfort food for the halal community while introducing new cuisines to the campus. Additionally, the burgers served at the grill station also are made with halal-certified beef.
All proteins used in the halal menu items are locally sourced and certified halal. Arguin personally oversees the sourcing process to ensure the highest quality and authenticity. The proteins also are kept in a designated storage area and are prepped using designated “halal only” kitchen equipment to avoid any crossover with non-halal items.
Dining Services plans to expand the availability of halal items into other areas of dining on campus as well.
“Dining Services is here for the students over everything, and we can grow together through education, collaboration and innovation,” said Arguin.
Cal Poly Pomona is home to over 26,000 students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, and CPPE strives to represent this diverse population through the dining options available on campus.