Inside UW-W: Esker Dining Hall

By Julia Busshardt

Sept. 24, 2014

Some students in college just go about their routine, eating the food offered in the dining halls without much thought. It’s convenient, and there’s not much need to think much about it. However, students sometimes can’t help but wonder what is going on behind the scenes.

In Esker Dining Hall, student employees juggle a variety of tasks. Student managers and student employees handle food, check the food consistently to make sure it is fresh, restock products and make salads. Esker has a full-time employee under the hood and multiple dishwashers.

“It’s not hard work, but not the most glamorous. No restaurant I’ve ever seen is ever glamorous,” said Jon Gordon, director of resident dining.

Student employees can avoid getting overworked because all of the schedules in Esker are student sign ups. Students can take a look at the schedules and determine whether they can work – depending on their personal time, hours and the amount of school work they can balance.

Esker also is flexible because the management does not have a problem with schedule switching as long as the student employee notifies them, Gordon said.

Amanda Van Gorder, an Esker student manager, said she really likes her job because it’s flexible with her school schedule, and the staff is laid back.

“I need time off for classes, and they are really cool about that, which is nice,” she said.

Money can mean a lot when in college, so when it comes to payroll, Esker rewards hard work with additional earnings. The starting wage is $7.25 and student managers get a 10-cent raise every semester.

Each semester employees at Esker will receive a raise without having to wonder or wait around.

Some negatives come along with the job, especially when working with food.

Van Gorder said working at Esker gets really fast-paced, and there is a lot of responsibility.

“If we don’t have food out right away, [students] complain,” she said.

The main complaint students have about the dining services is that the food isn’t good enough.

“I don’t really know what people expect, they’re eating food from a dining hall,” Van Gorder said.

Van Gorder said she has always liked Esker’s food and it’s actually not as bad as people think it is.

The first week of classes the resident dining gets really busy, according to Gordon. Approximately 1,000 people came in every night of the week, and he said it is by far, the busiest time of the year.

Currently, Esker’s staff is at minimum. This is due to the high volume of student graduates. Staff at Esker have to wait until later in the month for incoming freshmen to apply or for their returning staff members. Gordon said the beginning of the year is the toughest for the dining hall.

Esker Dining Hall Hours
Esker Dining Hall Hours