The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

University Dining Services pandemic aftermath

University Dining Services pandemic aftermath

Westfield State students have lost a variety of their favorite places to eat this fall due to the Dining services struggling to seek food service workers.

The main cause of this issue is due to lack of student and full-time employees because of the effects of COVID-19 and some employees not being vaccinated, according to Aaron Lessing, Vice President of Student Government Association.

Westfield State is not alone. Multiple and even bigger universities are having issues with seeking food service workers. 

Michigan State University informed Inside Higher Ed that they had to close two of its dining halls for dinner service because of the shortage of food service employees. The university had to resolve this issue by asking their faculty and staff to fill in. 

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for food service workers during the beginning of the pandemic, March 2020 to April 2021 increased from 8.5% to 34.5%. 

Due to the increase of unemployment here at Westfield State Twister Café, located in Wilson Hall and Late-Night Bistro was shut down on October 19th until further notice. 

“I just miss the overall experience with these two places. You were able to have a spot and meet up with your friends, socialize, and especially with the Late-Night Bistro,” said Michael Nichols, a current Criminal Justice student. 

Another well-known spot, Ely Harvest had its own employee hardships. A student could only order through the GET app because they did not have enough employees to compensate for the students that go there after they workout or in between classes. 

“I was not too thrilled when I found out Ely Harvest was only going to be available through the GET App. It was a bit inconvenient and sometimes the wireless connection at the school is not the best, so it was hard to make an order” said Lauren Gray, another current student.

Ely Harvest employee issue is fixed and is back to its regular hours according to Lessing. 

Throughout all these changes in the Dining, they have come up with the Late-Night DC. Where students can order the same food, they loved from Late-Night Bistro through the GET Mobile App. 

It consists of chicken fingers, French fries, mozzarella sticks, macaroni and cheese bites, and new jalapeno poppers. 

“It is nice seeing the school try to bring back some of the best parts of its dining. I love getting some macaroni and cheese bites after a long night of studying” said Sarah House, a current special education student.

Lessing informed that student employees have been helpful especially with the new Late-Night DC. 

As of October 2021, the unemployment rate of foodservice workers has decreased to 7% according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“I have noticed that they try their best to be really specific about cleanliness and make sure all of the protocols are followed,” Caitlyn Santos said, who was recently hired. 

The plan for the Spring Semester is to have every part of Westfield State Dining back open and ready to go, depending on the effects of COVID-19. 

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