Waiting in line in dining hall

Students wait in line at the Hokie Grill, Oct. 1, 2019.

Virginia Tech’s dining halls play a large part in developing the campus culture and community. Given the return of students to Virginia Tech’s campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, dining halls were placed under a major disadvantage when it came to feeding new and returning Hokies.

With a plethora of dining plan options available for students living both on and off campus, it can be overwhelming to be responsible for feeding that many people — even in the best circumstances.

“We are still seeing higher levels, probably about 20 to 25 (applications) a day still, and we are actively hiring each and every one of them,” said Brian Grove, the associate director of Dining Services at Virginia Tech. The hourly pay for employees currently stands at $15, a $4.50 increase in the hourly wage from last year, according to a September 2020 post from Dining Services’ Facebook page.

There are other benefits to working in the dining halls besides the raised pay.

“For me, it’s really kind of professional development,” Grove said. “A student will come and work for us, (and) they are going to learn skills that they are going to be able to take with them into their future or future employers.”

Grove is an alum of Virginia Tech and got his start in Dining Services as a student here. He has now been a part of the community for 30 years.

Students who have considered working in Dining Services have confessed to not being up for the demand a position in Dining Services requires.

“I already have a job at Starbucks and that’s stressful enough,” said Noah Zirk Jr., a freshman studying political science. “I would rather have a job that’s smaller and less high volume.”

Throughout the pandemic, dining services staff have remained a strong foundation for the school, and the staff’s resiliency does not go unnoticed. When asked how his staff feels about serving the community, Grove was not shy about his praise.

“Our staff takes that sense of pride in doing that (serving) every day for our students, so it’s important to them,” Grove said.

To apply for a dining hall position, students can go to https://dining.vt.edu/employment.html.

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