How Dining Services Across Campus are Responding to Staff Shortages

For some periods of time, the popular Global Station in Van Dyke Dining Hall was closed due to lack of staff. It is not the only location to be affected by staffing shortages and illness on campus.

Guest contributor, Emmett Donavan
Availability of on-campus dining is essential for much of the student population, but dining services at Emory & Henry have not been immune to the nation-wide staff shortage issue.
In the uncertain and difficult circumstances of the pandemic, campus dining has had to respond accordingly.
General Manager of Campus Dining Sam Walker explained that modifications to the hours of certain locations on campus were necessary in the face of low staff numbers.
“When the semester first started in the fall, we were having people work 7 days a week,” Walker said, regarding the changes to the availability of places like the Hut and the Zone in Martin Brock.
He continued, “I contacted our clients on campus asking how we could make this work to get these employees some time off.”
This decision ended up being to close these locations on Friday and Saturday for the remainder of the fall semester. Without hiring more employees, these hours have carried over into the spring.
Other dining services on campus have also been affected by the effects of COVID-19.
On February 1, Students received notice that the popular Global Station in Van Dyke Dining Hall would be closed for a week following multiple staff members taking time off due to illness.
Kiki Jenkins, a staff member in Van Dyke, stated that in the food industry these types of situations are not unusual.
Jenkins says that the school and Sodexo are doing the best that they can to keep their employees safe during the pandemic, and that team members taking time off has not changed too much in their daily workload.
Monique Duncan, an office supervisor in Van Dyke, also says that she has felt safe working in Van Dyke during the pandemic. She says that working there can be stressful during rushes but not much has changed otherwise.
“We’re used to it, but we have been very fortunate that everyone here pitches in,” Duncan went on to say, regarding the rest of her team members.
Another staff member, William Powers, says getting vaccinated and wearing his mask has helped him to feel safer working during the pandemic.
Sam Walker encouraged any students interested in part-time work on campus to reach out to any of these locations about potentially joining their team. Until their staff numbers reach a sustainable level, these changes will continue to impact dining services at E&H for the foreseeable future.