In the second installment of our three-part series on students’ on-campus work experiences and the benefits that they receive, The Record writer Cormac Quinn examines an inside look on dining services from both campuses. Go to page three for the full story.

By Cormac Quinn
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Dining Services, satisfying appetites so students can pursue our hunger for knowledge. Some think it isn’t always the most glamorous job; working with food is messy, hot and fast-paced. To be successful requires communication and commitment from the staff at all stages of the process. As one of the largest employers on campus, Dining Services balances employee’s academic life with our community’s need to eat.

Dining Services employs around 100 students on each campus, and chances are you know someone who has worked there. But, you may not have seen them often because of the length and times of their shifts.

“When I worked this job I felt like I always had to sacrifice something, whether that was social events, my grades or my sleep,” Junior Emerita Palencia said. “I couldn’t do it all.”

Palencia used to work at McGlynn’s, but felt as if she was expected to be a worker first, student second.

“The main reasons employees leave is because they are first-years, unaccustomed to college life, quickly becoming too busy causing their parents to disapprove of them having a job,” Erick Martinez, a senior student manager at the Refactory said.

“A lot of people who come here haven’t worked anywhere before, they struggle to balance work and academics,” the nutrition intern at the Reef and
sophomore Trey Collins said.

Administrative staff emphasize a desire to compromise with students to balance life and work, and they try hard to create a fun, welcoming environment at work, with the understanding that students have a plethora of assignments and activities that they can’t accomplish at work.

Evelyn Banda is a first-year, at her first job, in Gorecki.

Banda recounted how she was stressed at the start of the semester before
learning better time management skills.

“I’m not sure how I had the mindset of wanting to work in high school,” she said.

Barb Reis, assistant director of Dining Services, believes in working with the students.

“You’re here for class, if [your shift] is interfering, we’ll figure out how to work it out. With a multitude of workers, students can find leeway with their schedules,” Reis said. “Clubs are just as important, but we have to cover our needs here.”

Returning employees believe that the benefits can become clear as they realize the skills they’ve garnered and the opportunities that arise through their job. The added responsibility comes with greater flexibility of management positions, which are easily attainable.

Teresa Amaral, a sophomore student lead at Gorecki, didn’t intend to work for Dining Services, but expects to stay there all four years.

“I started applying for work awards late, and this is where I ended up,” Amaral said.

Reaching a leadership position gave her the flexibility she desired, but doesn’t come free.

“The management team have to be especially good at communicating with one another, and our team members,” Amaral said.

Adria Gillitzer, the administrative manager for the Reef, talks about the opportunities possible in Dining Services.

“There’s a lot of room for promotions,” Gillitzer said. “We do a lot of training with the staff; the better we train, the more likely [employees] are to stay.”

For students seeking jobs in their major elsewhere, Adria points out, “We have internships in sustainability, nutrition and communications.”

Collins is a nutrition major and after working at the Reef last year they offered him an internship.

“This is more applicable than my previous job,” Collins said. “Although I enjoyed working with my hands and other students, it was better than studying.”

Senior employees look fondly on their job, having jumped the hurdle into a management position after demonstrating their commitment to their work. Administrative staff realize the reality that students are here for an education, but understand the necessity of a functioning cafeteria.

Sometimes messy, always busy; Dining Services will continue to see a rotation of employees at the start of semesters as students learn to balance their academic and occupational workloads.

This article was contributed to by The Record News Editor, Sierra Lammi

FEATURE PHOTO BY JILLIAN SCHULZ • [email protected]
A dining services worker prepares one student’s food at the Gorecki Dining Center. Dining services employs students at The Refectory, McGlynn’s, The Good to Go, The Schu and Sexton Cafeteria.