Proud to be a Husky, snow or shine
UConn Dining Services employees stay loyal to students in the midst of a major blizzard
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 22:02
UConn Dining Services employees showed dedication to their fellow Huskies by working throughout the weekend, despite a potentially record-breaking snowstorm.
The storm hit the Northeast last Friday with the speculation of over two feet of snow, leaving people without power and transportation. At UConn, however, the dedication of Dining Services employees prevailed when staff slept on campus to keep the dining halls open amidst the storm.
UConn President Susan Herbst said, “We recognize that UConn is much more than a college campus to our students. It’s their home and being able to provide some sense of normalcy during such an unprecedented blizzard was important to all of us. For our Dining Services employees, that involved extraordinary efforts to keep our dining halls running with the same variety of meals, service and atmosphere of camaraderie that students expect on a regular day. ”
According to C. Dennis Pierce, director of dining services, there is a specific protocol that dining services follows, which includes getting a hold of vendors to change food delivery times as well as figuring out staffing needs.
The University has a history of providing areas for their employees by working with residential life to find housing on campus such as unused rooms or lounge areas for employees to sleep. Employees are also provided with mattresses, blankets and other necessary items for their overnight stay.
Pierce speculates that the University had about 70 employees staying overnight on Friday in preparation for Saturday. Without these employees staying on campus, the dining halls would not have remained open.
“Fortunately, my friends and I weren’t left hungry because the dining hall staff was dedicated enough to spend the night for us…the staff of Putnam slept at the dining hall just so they could be here. If I could hug them all, I would,” said Laura Eidam, a 2nd-semester communications major.
Other than Northwest opening an hour late on Saturday, all dining halls were open at their usual scheduled times.
“Our employees don’t have to stay over night, it’s not mandated. They are doing it for the benefit of the students at UConn, to be there to open up. It’s amazing with the amount of staff we had that stayed and were able to do it,” said Pierce.
To show the University’s appreciation, President Herbst wrote a thank you note to employees who played a role in keeping the campus safe and accessible during the blizzard.
The note explains how it has been generations since Connecticut has seen a blizzard of this magnitude, and that we at proudly recognize the men and women who contributed to the clean up.
“The employees on this campus, truly in all the years that I’ve worked here stepped up to bat this time more than I’ve seen it, by not going home to their families…and not knowing what the weather is going to be. Their dedication stayed here,” Pierce said.