For most AU students, stopping by the Haven, Create or the Marketplace for a snack or a meal is an essential part of their daily routine. Many students have come to recognize the familiar faces that work dutifully to prepare and serve them food, clean up the dining areas and swipe their ID cards at the register. Some have even built friendships with those who work for food services and look forward to uplifting conversation with them when they purchase their meals. However, how does working for AU Food Services impact those employees with whom students interact on a daily basis?
Andrea Presser has been working for AU Food Services for about four months. During that time, she has been trained to work at all dining options on campus and changes locations regularly based on her schedule for the day. Of all the options on campus, Create is her favorite place to serve food.
“I love my coworkers at every location, but Create has a really well-meshed team. We work well together over there and have a lot of fun,” said Presser. “No matter where you’re working, you’ll probably see the same kids come by two or three times a day. It’s great to get to know them.”
It seems that food service employees unanimously agree that interacting and building rapport with students is the most enjoyable part of working for AU.
“The students are by far the best part about working here,” said Presser. “They’re such good kids and it’s clear that this is a Christian campus. It’s just an uplifting environment to work in.”
Even the students who work at food services part-time find enjoyment in talking to the people who stop by to grab lunch or dinner. Vanessa Leon, a freshman, has worked in the Haven since she began classes at AU. In that time, she’s loved the opportunity to get to know people she likely would not have had the chance to if she hadn’t decided to work there.
“It’s always interesting to see who comes in the Haven,” Leon said. “So many students come through here and it’s really interesting to talk to so many different people.”
As a cashier, Leon has also had the opportunity to witness and experience the changes that have been implemented this semester. Leon can see first hand that the recent replacement of Yo! Bowl with 2mato has positively impacted AUFS and the students’ feedback of the Haven in general.
“There have been a lot of changes here since I began working,” said Leon. “I’ve worked in the Haven all year and it’s interesting to see what’s changed, and I can tell that there’s been improvement.”
Some of those who work for Food Services have been serving campus long enough to see numerous changes and classes of students enter and graduate from AU.
For instance, Marty Courtney has worked for AU food services for 20 years. In that time, she has built positive relationships with many different students. For Courtney, conversing with these students can actually be the most uplifting part of her day.
“I am a people-person at work,” Courtney said. “I can be upset about something at home or something not going right, but when I get to AU and see the students, I forget about my problems. That’s the truth.”
Courtney often works at Create in Decker Hall, and many students know her by name and recognize her for her kind and outgoing demeanor.
“You can tell that Marty really enjoys her job and cares for everyone who stops by,” said junior Jake Mills, who often makes a trip Create for coffee on his way to work or class. “She’s great and remembers my name and my regular order.”
Courtney, a mother of two, relates her conversations and friendships with the students who stop by Create to her relationships with her children. As an example of her compassion for those she meets, she makes a conscious effort to memorize students’ names when they order to ensure that each person feels recognized and cared for. “It’s more personable,” Courtney said.
Like many of AU’s food service employees, Courtney views the students who come by on a regular basis as not only friends, but family. Her interactions with students have positively impacted her experiences working at AU for the past two decades. “It’s like my own kids—I have a 23 year-old daughter and a 30 year-old son,” said Courtney. “This is like taking care of my kids.”