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The DC and COVID-19

DC staff member Josh Davis pre-plates food at American Grill. Photo: Collin Bode

Roy Hulehan, the director of retail at BJU, partners with the dining common staff to meet new challenges and provide healthy options for students in a safe, efficient way. The obvious changes to the dining common include masks for the staff, preplated food, social distancing and intensified cleaning, but there are many changes that may go unnoticed. For example, the silverware is washed three times and individually packaged before it is used. “That’s one of the bigger changes that took a lot of labor,” Hulehan said. “We had to remove a lot of food choices because we could not serve them safely,” Hulehan said. He said he realizes that many students are disappointed by limited options, and the dining common staff are working to meet the wishes of the students. “We’re learning, and as we learn, we can get more efficient, improve things and add things back into the menu.” For the present, simplicity is key. Because of limited capacity in the dining common, the staff has created a separate location for graband-go. “The purpose of the hot grab-and-go is to be a pressure relief valve,” Hulehan said, allowing students to get food faster. Additionally, Hulehan said, “A more recent change is the addition of the walkway through to the Davis Room, which will add roughly another 120 seats.” Hulehan said the staff values student feedback. For this purpose, Hulehan has gathered a voluntary student committee designed to represent the student body’s view on the dining common. Hulehan said, “The intent would be that they hear from their fellow students.” During these times, the dining common staff has risen above and beyond to meet the safety standards. Hulehan said, “One of the interesting things is, even though we’re offering less options, it is taking more labor.” The dining staff spends extra hours each day deep cleaning and prepping in ways they did not have to before COVID-19. “They enjoy the positive feedback from students, and they love being around students,” Hulehan said.