There are many people who work hard here at Virginia Tech, from the students and faculty to the athletes and coaches. However, there are some whose hard work goes virtually unnoticed.
For the past two years, I have worked for Virginia Tech Dining Services, working on the front lines in order to make sure that the food we serve to students keeps its reputation for being the best.
Food is one of those things that people generally take for granted. Whether it’s because food is something that is so plentiful here in America or because our schedules are so busy we don’t have the time to take pause and notice what we’re eating. Nevertheless, food is important. Not just in the sense that we need it to survive, but how much it affects our lives.
Soup from ABP can give us the strength to keep fighting that cold. A breakfast sandwich from Bruegger’s can give us the energy we need to scrape Cs in those 8 a.m.'s we begrudgingly signed up for. A salad from West End helps us keep that New Year’s resolution even though we have had Chick-Fil-A multiple times that week. Don’t even get me started on the communal bonding that is created by being in D2 for Sunday brunch where everyone is struggling.
And behind every one of those stories is a dining services employee. Those are the true Hokies — the unsung heroes on campus. I’m talking about the student managers who work 30+ hours a week on top of classes to make sure things run smoothly. Or the students who miss out on football games to make sure food can still be served. And especially the students who work somewhere that’s open late like Qdoba or DX, working well past closing time to make sure everything gets cleaned.
Student employees are also considered emergency personnel, meaning that rain, sleet or shine they still have to be there even if classes are cancelled.
Dining Services employees also have to do their job right, meaning they have to take the time to develop the skills necessary to provide their customers with the best food possible, and some jobs are harder than others.
From making quesadillas and rolling burritos, to tossing pizza dough in the air and making Philly cheesesteaks, the employees have their work cut out for them. And if you don’t think those are hard enough, how about making gelato, General Tso’s chicken, rolling sushi or using sharp knives? Oh, and did I mention that you’re going to need to do all of those things as fast as possible while maintaining the highest quality all the while the line keeps growing out of nowhere?
None of those things would be possible without the dedication to excellence that we are expected to have working for Dining Services. Because of that mentality, we have been able to be nationally recognized for our work.
But don’t take pity on us, for we have nothing to be pitied for. That’s the price we pay in order to be the best.