We have just about made it through our first year of students/faculty/staff returning to campus in closer to pre-pandemic levels. As many of you know, Dining & Hospitality Services never left campus and continued to work in person throughout the pandemic. However, the last two years have been incredibly impactful on our department with many vacated positions, painful layoffs for many of those on our team, ever changing COVID protocols, managing a quarantine/isolation meal program for our students, large debt to recover from for our self-supporting division, and constantly adapting as the pandemic evolved. Through it all we have demonstrated resiliency and an unwavering commitment to serving our campus community.
As we look ahead now to Fall of 2022, we continue to be anxious to re-open many of our shuttered restaurants; however, we still have many challenges ahead of us. Our department has many open critical staff positions we are actively recruiting to fill. Our department also typically employs about 800 student employees with close to 40% of those being returning student staff annually. Due to having very few student staff during the pandemic, we had to rehire our entire student workforce in Fall of 2021. For many of them this is their first job, and training takes time. The restaurant and hospitality industry continue to face staffing shortages across the nation, so please extend additional grace to those that are working---we need them and appreciate them. Finally, we are facing significant national and global supply chain issues. We sincerely apologize for any oddities, menu/item outages, or changes to the menu due to these very impactful supply chain issues. We are working hard with our suppliers to minimize impacts, but often times the shortages are out of their control as well.
As we continue to face these challenges head on, one thing remains unchanged---we are here to serve our Highlanders and feel grateful to see so many smiling faces returning to campus! We look forward to continuing the momentum forward, and as we stabilize our staffing levels we will continue the re-opening and new opening of our restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores. Thank you for your support, and patience, as we re-build from the impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to seeing and serving you!
Dining & Hospitality Services