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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Fine dining’ for Usdan Employees

Published: October 5, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Who are the people we see daily when getting our daily fix of food? What is working at dining services really like? Lets get a taste of what the employees of dining services do each day.

Rayna Grossman '08, has worked with dining services since her freshman year, having worked in both upper and lower Usdan. Working in the world of dining, Grossman has learned to take on many varied tasks ranging from preparing food, to cleaning up, and managing.

What was originally a convenient choice, since they were hiring when she was looking, has turned out to be a pleasant experience for Grossman. Mentioning how workers have the opportunity to meet a lot of people working in Usdan, Grossman alluded to the advantages of working for dining services. And then theres always the added bonus of receiving a free meal for every shift you work.

Grossmans is a job which she would absolutely recommend to other Brandeis students, something which she has already done to two of her friends who now work at Usdan with her. The most rewarding aspect of the job, to Grossman, lies in the experiences with her coworkers, both students and union workers. Of the union staff, Grossman said that they are great and that student workers are awesome and we have a lot of fun.

Grossman described the advantages of working in a stimulating, fast-paced environment which also can become a hectic experience sometimes. Grossman said its not hard work,but clarified that you have to be ready to do it. As opposed to other on-campus jobs, Grossman mentioned that working for dining services is “a lot more fun” than some jobs which traditionally are viewed as being tedious, such as office work.

Overall, Grossman believes that dining services is one of those overlooked jobs on
campus that people blow off, but that its great.

Asked what life skills working for dining services has taught her, Grossman mentioned, you learn to improvise, to be creative, and to think on your feet, referencing those hectic days when theres a rush and they go through more food than anticipated. Grossman added that the job has taught her people skills, saying, you learn to work with a group of peopleclean up as a teamand make things work.

As with all jobs, working for dining services also has its difficult days, such as days with a food shortage, or with cranky customers, but overall, Grossman said theres always fun stuff going on at Usdanand that her coworkers make those difficult days manageable. Grossman said that working with the union workers is a pleasure and she's learned a lot from them. If youre a people person and are willing to make some food, it's a great opportunity!

Ashley Laramie '11 started working with Dining Services second semester last year and has since performed a variety of tasks. Working this year at both Usdan and Einstein Bagels, Laramie makes sandwiches and helps with preparation of the salad bar, among other tasks.

A manager at a McDonalds near her home, Laramie chose to work for Dining Services based in part on her prior skills and knowledge of food management. When she learned that Dining Services was looking for workers, she took the job, figuring it was an easy job with flexible hours, and something that she would be able to fit into [her] schedule.

Laramie says hers is a job which she would recommend to other students, and has taught her practical life skills such as cooking. She referenced how some people she knows cant even make noodles, but since working with dining services, she has learned valuable skills ranging from food preparation to food safety.

Sharing the challenging aspects of the job, Laramie referenced the challenge of simply “getting up and going every day especially on Sundays when she knows it will be busy and she must close at 12:30 a.m. Laramie described these days as very draining, but added that the job does have its positive aspects. You get to work with people you know and have fun while youre working, Laramie explained.

As with all jobs, working for Dining Services sometimes has its amusing and embarrassing moments, as Laramie described her recent attempt at making Jell-O. Not knowing how to measure out a gallon of water, Laramie guessed and ended up adding 2 extra gallons of water, a mistake which she laughs at now.