University of Connecticut dining services is currently looking to hire individuals at select dining units and food facilities on campus ahead of the fall semester finals season, according to student program coordinator Ethan Olmstead.
Olmstead said the weeks prior to finals are often a good time to apply for the positions in dining services because a large cohort of students quit their jobs to focus on planning for next semester and finals.
“The big ones are hiring throughout the semester – McMahon, Putnam and South are always hiring because the schedule is so big,” Olmstead said. “There’s also a lot of turnover at this point in the semester because we’re doing shift-picks. Once people start thinking about finals week they always like to stop working. So a lot of people quit this time of year – there are more shifts available.”
Olmstead said the shifts are catered to allow college students to deal with other demands including schoolwork, extracurricular activities and other jobs or positions they may hold around campus.
“The shifts are short and super flexible- they’re usually two to four hours during the day,” Olmstead said. “We try to make it as easy as possible for students to work them and then go to class.”
Olmstead said, when looking for students to hire, the managers of each dining unit/vendor look for specific qualities in the individuals they plan on offering a job.
“If you’re working at, for example, the bistro, you really want to get that student sitting down in front of you and interview them if they’re going to be a waiter or a server. But if you just have someone who is going to be scrubbing pots in the back, usually a phone interview is good enough for that.”
The orientation process usually occurs the first week of a student’s employment, and goes over the basic rules, regulations and overview of the jobs. Students perform different duties within units once they are hired, Olmstead said.
“Everyone has the same title of a ‘student employee,’ but the positions depend on the dining hall,” Olmstead said. “You can be scrubbing pots one day for a specific shift, and then they rotate you around. So one day you could be swiping people in or sweeping the floor.”
Olmstead said it is easy for managers and job leaders within dining services to identify with any issues that may bar that individual from working a shift or week.
“The entire student program is run by students, so we understand how classes work and how things come up, so we try to be flexible,” Olmstead said. “Any type of heads-up is good, but it’s not that hard to find coverage. We’re all students and know what it’s like to have three exams a week and wanting time to study.”
Jackie Townsend, a first-semester business major who works at Bookworms, Up and Atom and The Beanery, said she enjoys the relationships she makes at work.
“I really like interacting with all of the people in a different environment,” Townsend said. “It’s interesting to see professors outside of the classroom and being able to help them like they help me.”
Townsend said the hours at all of her jobs are very flexible.
“They (the managers) really let you pick as many hours as you choose to work,” Townsend said. “You can always get more hours if you want, and they allow you to make up shifts.”
Olmstead said dining services jobs are unique because there is a fit for students of all interests and competencies.
“Anyone with any kind of customer service or food service experience can jump in and get it right away, it’s very similar,” Olmstead said. “[the job is fit for] pretty much anyone who is a hard worker, as long as you show up and work hard while you’re there.”
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.