Snow days are one of those things that make up for the incredible amount of snow that Duluth gets. They are exciting and a reason for students to forget about school for a bit. Campus becomes quiet and almost eerie, but there is one part of the school that still remains very much alive. The UMD Dining Center has never halted operations due to a snow day. When the snow piles high and campus closes, students can rest assured that the DC will still serve food.
“We have to serve food,” Liz Abrahamson, Associate Director of Dining Services, said. “It’s vital to the students that live here.”
In fact, the DC has very specific preparations dedicated entirely to snow days. Managers and supervisors created a special staff team called the Campus Closure Team. The CCT consists of about 30 DC staff workers that live on campus. These workers are required to work all day on snow days starting at 9 a.m. and are paid time-and-a-half. The students nominate themselves when hired.
“The reason the CCT is made up of staff that live on campus is because we don’t require staff workers that live off campus to come in,” Abrahamson said. “If our employees can make it in safely, they are encouraged to come work. But their safety is our main concern.”
Some employees go out of their way to make it in. Trudy Andrews, who many students are familiar with, has never missed a snow day according to Abrahamson.
The CCT and front-and-center employees aren’t the only ones that deserve recognition. The behind-the-scenes employees also take precautions in order to make it into work on snow days.
If staff knows the night before that there is going to be a snow day, managers stay overnight on campus. The executive chef has chains on his tires to make sure he can make it to work — he has never missed a snow day. In fact, the cooks have always made it in to serve students on snow days, even though they are also not required to come in. Managers cook the food if the cooks can’t make it.
During snow days, the DC adopts a slightly different set of hours. It is open 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate the roughly 2500 students that will make time to eat.
Abrahamson and the rest of the Dining Services staff see the importance in being able to serve students.
“Even when school closes, we can’t,” Abrahamson said.
BY AISLING DOHENY Staff Reporter