2014, article, denison, features

Students share their experiences as dining hall workers

Max Collins, a junior from Stamford, Conn., does not have a typical on-campus job such as working at the library, being a tour guide or working in a department. Instead, Collins works for Bon Appetit at Curtis. While it may not be the most glamorous job, Collins said he enjoys the people he works with and that he likes his job. I caught up with him in the Curtis Veggie room to ask him more about his job.

Debbie: What’s it like working at Curtis?
Max: I really like it. Everyone back there is nice. It’s a lot of fun. The students are generally really nice. I get a lot of ‘Hi, how are you?’s or at the very least most of them say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

D: What’s your least favorite part about working?
M: The cleanup is usually bad because some students are disgusting. Sometimes there is food all over the tables and the floor. People will leave spilled juice and stuff like that. Sometimes serving can get kind of stressful on days when we have something that’s really popular like chicken parmesan. It’s a constant stream of kids and I don’t get any down time for four hours.  

D: How many hours a week do you work?
M: I usually work 15. Most work 10 and some work like 20. Then there are the full time workers who work about 40 hours.

D: How did you get the job?
M: A friend of mine told me about it. We applied and I ended up getting it, not her. I felt bad for stealing the job but she’s fine with it.

D: What’s the hiring process?
M: It wasn’t bad. I handed in my application and a week later I got a call. I came in for a first interview and it was mostly a get to know you type interview. The second interview was more formal and informational. Then I had to go to an orientation where I learned the rules of the land.

D: What’s a typical shift like?
M: I punch in a half hour before the dining hall opens. I make sure everything is clean, prepare and put up the food. I’m serving food during the big rushes at dinner and lunch time. After the rush, I’ll go see who I can help. I’ll clean the counters and tables. When the dining hall closes, we make sure the leftover food is taken away to charity. We clean our work stations, vacuum and go home.   

Gabby Vecchio, a sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio opened up about her time working for both Sodexo and Bon Appetit. Vecchio has worked at Huffman, Curtis, Slayter and has been involved with selling concessions for a couple years. I met up with Vecchio in the Slayter pit to chat about what she liked about her job.  

D: How many hours a week do you work?
G: Well, last semester I was working 27 hours a week. So I was pretty much full time. I’ve been trying to get my hours reduced but they are understaffed. I was able to buy a car with the money that I made.

D: What’s been some differences that you’ve noticed between Sodexo and Bon Apetit?
G: I think most people don’t realize how sustainability focused Bon Appetit is. They’re really picky and concerned about composting and sorting. I think it’s very worthwhile. They try and get whatever they can from local farmers too.

D: What’s it like working at Huffman?
G: It’s very friendly. Most people are there because they want to be and they enjoy working there. I like working when I’m in contact with the students like serving in the main line.

D: What’s your least favorite part about working?
G: Probably just waiting around when it’s slow. It gets kind of long sometimes. Usually at dinner it’s not a problem but after 7 it gets kind of slow.

D: How did you get your job?
G: A friend got a job in the dining hall and when she left Denison I took over her job. I thought it was really brave of her to work for the dining hall. They started me out with really short hours but gradually.

D:  Do you think you’ll continue to work?

G: I hope to get more into catering and concession stands. I like setting up and running my own thing. It’s kind of like owning your own business but you’re under supervision. I think it’s better to work catering as a student because the hours are more flexible.

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