The Trailblazer Cafe has been known for its busy student life during lunch rushes, but since the new hybrid schedule the cafe has been emptier than ever. The Dining services has suffered a decrease in revenue, causing job losses, decreased hours of operation, and limited menu items. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the dining services at DSU is seeing the effect of the pandemic.
Last year, the DSU dining services held lines and rushes during meal time. This fiscal year (Jul 1 – Sept 30) the dining services is down $200,000 compared to 2019.
“This loss in revenue has caused us to remove some items from our menus, hours of operations and staffing,” said Katie Nye, interim director of dining services.
There has been a 44% decrease in the amount of jobs students currently have on the dining services.
“This time last year we had roughly 130 part-time employees, now we have 86,” Nye said.
Nye attributes the deficits to the changes COVID-19 has forced DSU to make.
“I honestly think we don’t have as many students on campus with most classes offering zoom calls,” Nye said. “A lot of our students commute to campus, so if they don’t have a reason to come on campus, they will most likely stay at home.”
Students are also seeing a difference when they eat their meals and spend time in the cafeteria.
“For the most part, it’s pretty empty,” said Michael Richens, a sophomore biology major from Dallas, Texas. “When I’m in the [Kenneth N. Gardner cafeteria] doing homework or studying, I’m often the only one in here.” During the time, Richens was indeed the only student in Kenneth N. Gardner cafeteria.
DSU is making efforts to keep its dining locations available for students to eat at by focusing on sanitizing and keeping a clean environment.
“Throughout a shift, we make sure to sanitize the handles of the doors, the chip bags locations, and the fountain drink machine,” said DSU subway employee Leia Sanders, a freshman psychology major from Flagstaff, Arizona. “Sometimes it will be busy for an hour or so straight, but then most of the time I’ll have an hour or two between customers.”
Dining services is navigating an unprecedented time along with the rest of the university.
“I think a lot of students aren’t wanting to eat in the café because they fear the they can get COVID when they eat here,” Richens said. “Even though they wipe down the tables and keep things clean, I think students are worried about their health.”
There are other believed reasons as to why students may not be eating on campus.
“I think students aren’t coming because a lot of them are staying at home,” Sanders said. “I have a lot of friends and people I know just doing classes online or even taking the whole semester off.”
As DSU continues to stay open during the pandemic, they are offering delivery and to-go options as well.
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