Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ketchup with Claudia Wheeler!

Meet Claudia Wheeler from HSS!

1. What is your job?

Claudia is the secretary for Harper Dining Hall.  She describes her job as a “catch all." She does things such as payroll, counting money, answering the phone, or even checking people in.

2. What are your hours?

She works 9-5:30 Monday through Friday.

3. What is something you like about your job?

She likes the students a lot and the energy and excitement they provide.  She jokingly said “she doesn't want to be old." With her personality, she is the last thing from it.

4. Where are you from?

Claudia is from Mobile, Alabama.  She claimed she could swim before she could walk, and especially with Nebraska’s brutal winter, she misses the beach and especially the weather.

5. What path led you to work at this dining hall?

Claudia is relatively new to Harper Dining Hall! She started working here a couple months ago. Previously, she worked in catering on East Campus for 8 and a half years, and before that she and her husband lived here there and everywhere because her husband was in the Coast Guard.

6. What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?

Claudia likes to read a lot, and she is part of a book club which she described as “a drinking club with a reading problem.” She also loves her two cats.

7. Do you have a spouse and/or kids?

Claudia has three kids, all of whom have their own lives now in areas such as environmental politics and fisheries and wildlife.  She also has a husband, Ryan, who has a passion for screen writing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ketchup with Rhonda Alcorn!

Ketchup with Rhonda Alcorn from CPN! 
·        What is your job?
o   I am a dining service associate team leader. I am responsible for set-up, maintaining the specialty food bar (eg: stir fry), ensuring the safety of the food (temperature), putting the food in pans, supervising the students, and setting up the sandwich bar.
·        What time do you have to be here to open and prep food?
o   I’m here at 8, by ten thirty both bars have to be set up and ready to go.
·        How late do you stay after closing?
o   We close at two and I leave at 4:30.
·        How long are the shifts?
o   8-4:30, unless there is a special dinner like the GFL thanksgiving dinner.
·        Something you like about your job?
o   I love serving the students especially at CPN. I’m glad that we don’t have the market style and get to talk to the students. I love seeing the students. I have been doing this for 31 years and I absolutely love food service. I love working with food and making people happy.
·        Where are you from?
o   I’m originally from a small town in North-Central Kansas, but I’ve called Lincoln home since 1984.
·        What path led you to work at this dining hall?
o   I was originally hired at Harper in 1984, and started as a food tech. I loved the job and the position opened here as a team leader, then I applied and accepted it.  After time, I went back to Harper, then returned to CPN in 2012.  One of the reasons I came back here after leaving is because of Jane Wemhoff and Joel Fogerty, the managing staff.
·        What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
o   I love crafting, playing piano, and gardening. My biggest thing is my family and my grandchildren, that’s the number one.
·        Do you have a spouse and/or kids? / Are you a student?
           o   I have three kids and a husband. 

Good, Fresh, Local!

Students and faculty all around the UNL campus are equipped with several dining halls to access food throughout the day. The food is typical of any other college campus: frozen food, deep-fried everything, below average salad bar, and soda galore. It’s nothing exciting....HOLD UP! If you have ever had this thought about your dining halls at UNL, then you need a refresher. Not only are the dining halls here filled with amazing staff, but the food is beyond anything any other college campus has to offer. The food featured is a mix of fresh and local cuisine thanks to a program known as Good, Fresh, Local. 

Good, Fresh, Local started back in 2005 when UNL decided to add a twist to the everyday food served at dining halls. They started an initiative with several local farms and producers in Nebraska to serve local food in the dining halls. Not only does this allow for students to have a fresh option when eating their meals, but it also shows UNL’s support for the local economy and reduces the cost of shipping food from other states. The program is budgeted into the students’ meal plans at the beginning of the year...but some students say they would pay extra to have GFL served more often or more than the ordinary dining hall food. 

Right now the program is focused mainly in two dining halls. Good, Fresh, Local foods make up 5% of the Cather, Pound, Neihardt dining menu and 2% of the East Campus dining menu. The other three dining halls do provide a small amount of GFL food, though. Each month, a special meal is served at the two main dining halls featuring a MAJORITY of local food. AMAZING! These meals are so popular that lines form a half hour before the dining halls open. These are the meals where you take the opportunity to indulge and have no self shame in getting seconds...because you’re crazy if you don’t! 

CPN

Wednesday – December 10, 2014 – GFL Holiday Dinner

Thursday – January 22, 2015 – GFL Country Breakfast

Thursday – February 19, 2015 – GFL Italian Dinner

Thursday – March 12, 2015 – GFL Chain Reaction Lunch

Thursday – April 16, 2015 – GFL Japanese Dinner


East Campus Union

Wednesday – December 10, 2014 – GFL Holiday Dinner

Wednesday – January 21, 2015 – GFL Comfort Food

Tuesday – March 17, 2015 – GFL St. Pat’s Lunch

Wednesday – April 15, 2015 – GFL Lunch

After seeing the success of the program from the start, many other college campuses are trying to start a similar program in their dining halls (I.E. NE Wesleyan) or have been researched to see if the program could work there. Being a leader in the food industry, UNL is shaping the way students look at their dining options when choosing a college. Some look at the cost and think “How ridiculous!”, but now many are saying “It’s a lot of money, but the fresh, local food is worth it!” Hopefully the mindset you were in before is now equipped with a better understanding of the dining halls. Good, Fresh, Local food is waiting for you at your next meal! 


(Facts taken from Jennifer Simons - UNL Research Paper)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ketchup with Rod Flink!

Meet Rod Flink, a supply clerk for Abel Sandoz

         What is your job?
        Rod is the supply clerk for Abel Sandoz and is in charge of ordering some of the food.
        What are your hours?
        His hours are pretty flexible and he typically works 7 am to 3:30 pm.  His flexible hours help when he needs to do things like take grandchildren to school.
        What’s something you like about your job?
        Rod really enjoys that his job keeps him busy.  He has flexible hours and is always kept moving.
        How many people work during each shift?
        There are more full-time employees during the morning shifts.  More students work during the evening shifts, and fewer full-time employees work then.
        Where are you from?
        Rod is from Dennison, Iowa but moved frequently and attended 11 schools throughout the Midwest.
        What path led you to work at this dining hall?
        Several members of his family worked in food service, and Rod has always leaned towards that.
        What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
        Rod spends a lot of his time doing projects for his kids and has helped with several house renovation projects.  He also enjoys fishing when time allows.
        Do you have a spouse and/or kids?
        He is married and has 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  All of his children have gone to college.


Ketchup with Brian Sabatka!

Ketchup with Brian Sabatka from Selleck
Team Leader of Selleck Dining Hall

1. Brian is the Team Leader of Selleck Dining Hall. He is in charge of the Traditional food area but supervises all areas. He forecasts what food will be needed and picks menu items.
2. He enjoys that the cooking styles are constantly different and that he is able to interact with students.
3. Outside of work he enjoys gardening and woodburning.
4. A typical shifts would include prepping, paperwork, and when it gets busy, cooking things as they’re needed.
5. He works five days a week for 40 hours and he works every third weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ketchup with Adam Theesen-Fenton!

Meet Adam Theesen-Fenton, from HSS Dining


·         What is your job?
o   Adam is a cook who you might see making omelets early in the morning.  However, he mostly works in the back cooking breakfast and lunch.  He is also a 5-team leader who directs 4 full time staff.
·         What time do you have to be here to open and prep food?
o   Adam works from about 5:30-2:00, five days a week.
·         Something you like about your job?
o   Adam enjoys the benefits that come with working for UNL which allow him to take classes part-time through UNL and get tuition reimbursement.  He also really enjoys all the people he works with.
·         How many kids come in to eat during each meal period?
o   Breakfast: 500-600, Lunch: 700-1000, Dinner: 1000-1200
·         How many people work during each shift?
o   Varies, but there are 32 full-time employees and over 50 part-time student workers.
·         Where are you from?
o   Adam is from Kearney, NE and has been in Lincoln for 9 years. 
·         What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
o   Adam loves anything outdoors such as hiking or just being in nature.  He also has a passion for traveling, and he has been to 36 of the 50 states. 
·         Do you have a spouse and/or kids? / Are you a student?
o   Adam is studying to get a degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science, and his wife is a law student.  Someday they hope to move to the east coast, and Adam can get a masters in environmental law and policy.

Ketchup with Julie!

Meet Julie from Selleck!


·        What is your job?
o   Julie is the secretary for Selleck and when needed, she fills in as cashier.
·        What time do you have to be here to open?
o   The regular staff and cashier have to be here at 6 am to be ready to open by 6:45 am.
·        How late do you stay after closing?
o   The staff will stay 45 minutes after closing to clean up and put everything away.
·        How long are the shifts?
o   8.5 Hours. Half an hour is an unpaid lunch break.
·        What is something you like about your job?
o   Julie said that she really enjoys working around the students.
·        How many kids come in to eat during each meal period?
o   Approximately 3600-3800 students per day come in to eat.
·        How many people work during each shift?
o   There are, on average, 31 people working during the day and 34 at night. At night 17 of the people working are students.
·        Where are you from?
o   Dannebrog, Nebraska
·        What path led you to work at this dining hall?
o   The job was posted online and Julie applied and got the job.
·        What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
o   Julie enjoys reading and cooking outside of work. She likes to read mysteries and biographies.
·        Do you have a spouse and/or kids?
o   She has a husband and a daughter. Her daughter is a student at UNL.

Ketchup with Jason Hughes!


Meet Jason Hughes, a PM cook at the Abel/Sandoz dining hall. 


        What are your hours?
        He works 11:30 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday, and if he works Friday and Saturday, he works 10:30 am to 7 pm.
        How late do you stay after closing?
        People usually don’t have to stay that long after closing.  The cooks and other employees do a good job of cleaning up so everyone can head home.
        What’s something you like about your job?
        Jason really likes the people in his job; being able to help feed all the students is a great part of his job.
        How many kids come in to eat during each meal period?
        Around 900 kids come to an evening meal; Tuesdays and Thursdays it is sometimes 1,400 students.
        How many people work during each shift?
        There are usually around 4 cooks during the PM shift, a full-time dishwasher and several other staff members totaling 10 people without counting student employees.
        Where are you from?
        Jason is from Lincoln, Nebraska.
        What path led you to work at this dining hall?
        He had previously worked in restaurants such as Applebee’s before finding out about and applying for this position.
        What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
        Outside of working here Jason has a second job, and he loves collecting pins.
        Do you have a spouse and/or kids?
            ○        Jason has family who also lives in Lincoln.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ketchup with Joel Fogerty!

Meet Joel Fogerty, Dining Manager of CPN


  • What is your job?
    • “I coordinate all of the people and make sure things happen. Things like if the food is safe, if the food tastes good, the students are happy. Those are the main things.”
  • What time do you have to be here to open and prep food?
    • “It depends. Some days I come in at 6; some days I come in at 8; some days I come in at 11.”
  • How late do you stay after closing?
    • “It depends, some days I’ll leave at 5 and others I’ll be working 8-8.”
  • How long are the shifts?
    • “8-12 hours.”
  • Something you like about your job?
    • “I enjoy my co-workers and seeing smiling student faces.  I like my job, because I get to do everything; no two days are ever the same.”
  • How many kids come in to eat during each meal period?
    • “Breakfast: 550-650 Lunch: the same. Dinner: 700-900. Mondays and Wednesdays are busier.  They are over 900, it probably adds 100 students.”
  • How many people work during each shift?
    • “We have 27 people divided over 2 shifts (including Husker Heroes and Knoll). In addition, there’s about 5 or 6 students in the morning and lunch, then about 20 students during supper.”
  • Where are you from?
    • “I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska.  I’ve left a couple of times and made my way back because of family.”
  • What path led you to work at this dining hall?
    • “I have a degree in human nutrition, and am an ex-registered dietitian Before, I worked in hospitals. Working with sick people wasn’t fun and was emotionally challenging.  Younger students are fun and don’t die on you.”
  • What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
    • “I like gardening. I also have a side-business/hobby where I buy and sell antiques and junk.”
  •  Do you have a spouse and/or kids? / Are you a student?
    • “I have a wife of 33 years and an adult son.” 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Welcome!

Welcome to the Ketchup with the UNL Dining Staff student blog!  Thank you for taking the time to visit this page.  We would like to explain a little bit more about who we are and what our goals for this blog are.  If you want the short version, we invite you to look at the “about us” tab near the top of your screen.

This blog and the table tents you may have seen at any of the four city campus dining halls are part of a student project for a freshman honors communications class.  The class is Rhetoric, Media, and Civic Life taught by Professor Damien Pfister. Our group was given the task of creating a Commons Campaign.  In other words, this is something that will improve our lives in any way, shape, or form. While bouncing ideas off each other, the topic of the dining halls came up and how students sometimes complain about the hours they are open or the food that is served.  Instead of trying to fix these problems, we decided to attempt to change peoples’ opinions about the dining halls as they are now.

We want students to recognize all the great things that are already there. For instance, how many times have you gone through the food lines and seen the same people working, but you still don’t even know his or her name?  Through reading the interviews and stories both on the blog and in the dining halls, we hope you gain an appreciation for the people who work hard to serve you every day and the entire food service program in general.

We will be updating the blog weekly with new interviews and articles, so feel free to come back and check it out later too.

-Members of our Group (Alex, Jake, Melany, Mallory, Sarah, and Matt)