The Collegian
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

D-hall employees spend the night to accommodate students

During the snow storm last week, University Dining Services rented a van so that employees could be taken to the bus stop at Willow Lawn and even housed some employees and managers overnight on campus to accommodate University of Richmond students.

Out of the 62 hourly staffed members scheduled in the Heilman Dining Center, 51 reported to work on Tuesday morning, said Bettie Clarke, the executive director for campus dining.

“Dining Service staff is essential staff and are expected to report to work as scheduled unless notified,” Clarke said. “Dining Services owns sleeping bags and other bedding to make an overnight stay more comfortable.”

All employees who stayed overnight volunteered to do so in order to help serve Richmond students, Clarke said. “Yes, the men slept downstairs in the Richmond Room and the women slept upstairs in the purchasing area,” she said. “I must tell you that the folk that stayed did so in the spirit of service to the student community. Many were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get back the next day for their regular shift.”

According to the Human Resources page on the university’s website, essential personnel are paid an inclement weather rate in addition to their normal rate when they have to work through severe weather.

Clarke said Dining Services truly appreciated their employees’ willingness to stay because it made life easier for everyone who had to work through inclement weather.

Tyler’s Grill, which was the only other Dining Services location that was open during the snow day, did not have any special arrangements made for employees, said Lisa Bayard, food service director for Tyler’s. 

“We have employees that live as far as 45 minutes away and some as close as 10 minutes away. They all do a great job getting here in bad weather,” she said.

“Catering staff was also very helpful in Heilman and worked to maintain the tables in the dining room as well as help serve food,” Clarke said. “Most employees consider the work they do important and also realize the value of gainful employment and are willing to do whatever is required to take care of our students.” 

Contact reporter Carney Judge at carney.judge@richmond.edu

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