Staffing Issues Lead to Shortened Hours at the Dining Hall

Changes at the campus dining hall are among the many shifts in campus life during the coronavirus pandemic

Students have been wondering when these new changes might go back to normal. However, this may not happen anytime soon. Due to staffing issues, there is not much that the dining hall staff can do.

One of the changes that has occurred are the hours of the dining hall. Before the pandemic the hours were 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The hours were changed to 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. after students returned to campus . This has caused problems for some with classes or sports that continue after 7 p.m. Logan Peck, from the men’s soccer team said he has a hard time getting to the dining hall before it closes on days where he has practice.

“I get out of practice at 7 p.m. and I either have to starve or go eat someplace else and spend money,” he said.

The other major change to dining hall is the food options. These have been changing for the past couple years. There are no more meal tickets for people to write down custom orders. Instead students must eat what is off the line or in the salad bar. Josh Grugnale, a junior, said the old protocol offered students more choice.

“I prefer the meal slips because they would give you more options, because some people may want a different diet,” Grugnale said.

Director of Dining Services, Jessica Lively, said the recent shortage of staff has made serving students more difficult for her and the rest of the staff.

“Normally I spend about a third of my week in the kitchen, but now I am spending about eighty five percent in there.” Lively said.

This takes away from some of the normal day to day business operations that she oversees, such as payroll, catering and the financials.

There have been two supervisors that have been cooking meals as well as a cashier that has been filling in for a dishwasher. And sometimes staff has to stay extra hours and do jobs that they have not been trained to do, she added.

With the majority of businesses going through major staff shortages, the Hilbert dining hall is no different. With nine open positions currently, there are only a total of eight applicants that have even showed interest. As compared to last year, there were four job openings with 49 applicants.

“Pretty much everybody here has had to help in some other fashion” Lively said.

Lively said students can apply to work at dining hall. It is not a work study and is an actual part time job that they can apply for. All positions are posted onto the website or, if they want, can go into the dining hall and ask for an application there.

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