On-campus meals rival off-campus jobs for hard-working students – Grand Valley Lanthorn


Students at Grand Valley State University have faced on-campus catering issues such as location closures, long lines, and limited menus since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Most can be attributed to the current shortage of students.

A year and a half later, despite efforts by campus restaurants to attract workers, there are still not enough employees to staff many restaurants on campus. If the on-campus catering cannot attract more employees, these problems seem likely to persist.

GVSU sent an email on September 8 stating that the campus catering only employed about 30% of the usual number of students and 70% of the full-time staff. Since then, incentives such as pay increases during certain shifts and bonuses for working until the end of the semester have been offered to entice students to work for meals on campus.

Some students feel that these incentives are not enough.

In response to a question about this on r / GVSU, a Reddit forum for GVSU-related posts, students expressed frustration with the limited incentives offered by on-campus meals.

“As an employee of the campus dining hall, I think I should state that the bonus system isn’t even as lucrative as you say,” user u / lesbianclarinetnerd said. “You have to work a minimum of eight hours a week, not an average, a minimum (so if you get sick and miss a shift, you’re not up for the premium). Personally, I only scheduled 6.5 hours per week and I’m not allowed to stay any longer to get to this (so I would have to take another shift to receive the bonus). The schedule is absolutely horrible.

As for salary increases, the current salary for campus restaurant workers is $ 9.87 per hour on Handshake. Currently, campus restaurant workers earn an extra $ 2 an hour if they work after 3 p.m. or on weekends, but that pay is still paltry compared to other foodservice jobs in the area.

Grand Rapids Brewing Company offers sign-up bonuses of $ 1,000 and salaries for kitchen staff starting at $ 17 an hour, and Grand Coney in Allendale hires part-time cooks for salaries of $ 14 to 17. $ per hour.

User u / JaySeebricks said campus restaurant salaries are not competitive at all.

“The off-campus (bus-distance) jobs offer much higher wages and seemingly better terms,” u / JaySeebricks said. “I sometimes feel very bad for the employees of the restaurants on campus. “

On-campus meals must also compete with employment opportunities at other campus locations that pay as well or better than them, and also offer the option of doing homework or working at their own pace. Student positions like office assistants, tour guides, and major-specific positions like clinical assistants and tutors offer similar or better salary and working environments than on-campus catering positions.

“I worked for campus restaurants before the pandemic and wouldn’t go back even with the incentives they offer,” u / teach_sped said. “The library offers a salary equal to what (the campus dinner) stated on Handshake and I can do my homework there and not work in a hectic environment with lots of COVID policies. “

Nonetheless, student workers are needed to keep campus catering operations open to all students on campus.

“Obviously, the campus dining hall employees (especially the students) are doing all they can and I’m grateful for their hard work so that I can have lunch and dinner between my busy work hours,” said u / teach_sped.

Students with allergies, vegan or vegetarian diets, and other dietary restrictions or preferences are faced with a reduced number of options for where they can eat safely on campus. Several restaurants that offered vegan or allergy-friendly options, such as Which Wich, have been closed year-round, leaving students with much less variety for what they can use meals on.

“My (other important person) had extremely limited options last year with her allergy and half the time she would experience mild to moderate reactions from cross-contamination,” u / JaySeebricks said.

Another student echoed concerns about cross-contamination for people with specific diets, saying they have also encountered allergy issues at campus restaurants.

“Cross-contamination occurs in every location, along with already very limited antiallergic options,” user u / dvd-player said. “Your best bet is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Fresh or just spending your money at the pod stores to buy food you know you can eat.”

A student complained about a lack of proper training due to a lack of staff. Failure to properly train food service workers can lead to problems such as cross-contamination and the potential for allergic reactions.

“Training is almost non-existent,” u / lesbianclarinetnerd said.

As COVID-19 continues to affect workforce availability, there are currently no concrete expectations as to when meals at GVSU could see a return to normal.

“It’s hard to predict given that this is a state, regional and national situation,” said Deb Rambadt, head of campus restaurant marketing. “As people apply and are hired / trained, more openings could occur. On November 8, 42nd Street Deli inside Kleiner reopened and with an ongoing pace of applications, more stations will follow.

For students who wish to share their thoughts with Campus Dining, www.yourdiningvoice.com offers surveys that share feedback with restaurant managers on campus. Responses can be provided anonymously, or users can provide contact information for follow-ups and raffle entries. QR codes are displayed in restaurants across campus for easy access, and there is a link on www.gvsu.edu/campusdine/.


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