Dining Hall Staff Goes Above and Beyond in Time of Emergency

By Catalina Righter

News Editor 

In the face of events that disrupted the normal schedule of Washington College operations, employees of Dining Services remained adaptable.

The first challenge was feeding students on Nov. 16 when the campus was under lockdown. According to Director of Dining Services Don Stanwick, Dining Hall staff worked with Residence Life, Public Safety, and the Emergency Operations Group to  come up with a plan to safely and efficiently feed large group of students.

“We did not have a lot of planning time as we were unsure of when the students were going to be able to come in,” said Stanwick. “We would bring students over in groups, feed them, and then have them escorted back to their dorms.” Members of Public Safety and police escorted students to and from Hodson Dining Hall. Resident Assistants relayed information about meal schedules to their residents.  Parents and other outside members of the WC community were reassured that students were being fed through updates on the washcoll.edu website.

Students were provided with lunch and dinner. Stanwick said,  “While lunch was a bit chaotic, by the time we did it for dinner, we had fixed a few things and it went much smoother than lunch.”

During the lockdown on Monday, the College operated under what administration and Public Safety referred to as “an abundance of caution.” Uncertainty swirled around the possible to the campus, but dining services employees reported to work despite the risk. “The staff did an exceptional job,” said Stanwick. “They were nervous during the time we were waiting around, and once we started serving students, they did not let it show.  The effort and strength they showed on Monday really made me proud to work with them and be part of Dining Services.”

When administration announced that the College would close until the end of Thanksgiving break, this was another hurdle for Dining Services. “Unfortunately we lost a lot of produce and perishables that would expire before students were able to come back to campus,” said Stanwick. As meal planning for the semester will not need to change as it is done in advance, but the Dining Hall “will be purchasing food and supplies on a daily basis as product as needed for the remainder of the semester,” said Stanwick. This should help to reduce further waste.

The unexpected campus closure meant unexpected time off work for Dining Services employees. “Thankfully, the College has a program in place that allows all regular employees to get paid for their normal work day during unforeseen situations,” said Stanwick.  “This allows our employees to still be able to count on a paycheck as we go into the holidays.”

The closure also meant that the College was closed on the date of this year’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the dining hall. This event is very popular with students and community members alike. Students have been known to camp outside Hodson Hall all afternoon the day of to get to the front of the long line.

Turkey lovers will be happy to know that the meal has been rescheduled for Dec. 10 at 4:45 p.m.. This Holiday Dinner will have the same menu as the annual Thanksgiving Feast.

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