- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 10 February 2016
- Written by KERRY BREEN | COPY EDITOR
Upon closure of the University due to inclement weather, dining hall employees must still come to work to make sure residential students are fed.
On snow days, almost all buildings are closed. The Rebecca Stafford Student Center will often be closed, or it may have a delayed opening. Other locations, such as the café in the library and the convenience store, are also shut down.
All non-essential offices are closed; many classes are cancelled so that students can stay inside. However, all students still need to eat, and since many on-campus dormitories do not have kitchens, the dining hall must stay open, even during snow storms.
While most University employees are able to stay home during dangerous weather, those who work in the dining hall still have to go to work, and accommodations must be made to make sure that they are able to arrive safely.
“Sometimes, we have employees sleep over,” said Steven Black, the resident dining director. “They can sleep over in the club rooms. I personally, and my general manager Chris Ryerson, sometimes pick them up and drive them home, but we would rather them stay here if the storm is really bad, when it’s over a foot or more.”
However, these employee sleepovers are done only in the case of emergency, such as during winter storm Jonas. The previous snow on Friday, Feb. 5, would not have qualified as such an emergency situation. According to Black, employees are compensated at an hourly rate. Typically, it is only employees who would be working night shifts that stay overnight.
“We always have it open for students,” said Black. “Somebody would be here. Even if it was just me and the head chef, somebody would be here to feed students.”
During inclement weather, the dining hall also offers fewer options, closing several stations to minimize the amount of employees that need to go out in the storm. The first stations to close are typically the carving station and the deli, as well as the omelet station. The stations that typically remain open are the grill, pizza, and pasta stations, as well as the salad bar. The other entrée stations, as well as the international and vegan stations, are opened if possible, depending on the severity of the storm.
“We just have partial stations open,” said Black. “It’s hard for people to get around, it’s hard for our employees to get around. During the snowstorm, we had pizza, grill, entrée, the pasta station, and sometimes we had international and vegan. The salad bar is always open. I know everyone loves the omelet station and the deli, but it’s hard for us to get everyone in safely, so we have selective items open, but it’s still enough to feed everyone.”
While dining hall employee Diamond Perkins was not present for winter storm Jonas, she has been at the dining hall during other storms, and knows how they accommodate both workers and students.
“They let the kids go in for free,” said Perkins. “They let them stay as long as they want to eat. They also make sure that employees are allowed to eat.”
Malia Padalino, a sophomore English student, was on campus during winter storm Jonas, and ate at the dining hall several times.
“They absolutely need to have the dining hall open somehow,” she said. “Not all students have cars to go off-campus and get food, and even the ones that do are snowed in. Something has to be done to feed the students, so it’s important that the dining hall stays open. During that weekend, they didn’t have it at full-force, but that was okay. It wasn’t like it normally is, but it was enough to feed everyone. They didn’t have everything, but they had enough for people to eat.”