The Blend, Topside attract student workers at DDS

by Anna Parachkevova | 5/25/04 5:00am

Editor's note: This is the third in a multi-part series on employment conditions for students at the College.

Thayer Dining Hall, home to several campus dining facilities, is a place for those looking to make money as well as for those looking to spend it.

The Blend and Topside convenience store are two of the most popular spots for student customers, as well as for a disproportionately high number of student employees who choose to work there.

The unequal distribution of student employees within Dartmouth Dining Services stems from student preferences for less work-intensive jobs rather than a product of DDS efforts to match the nature of the work with students' qualifications, employees said.

"They pick that because there is less to do there," full-time DDS employee Joska Reid said. Reid, who is not a student, worked in Topside until he was recently relocated to Food Court.

Tamara Battle '07, who started working for The Blend during the Fall term and was recently promoted to a supervisor's position, said the nature of her job at The Blend is not as demanding as other DDS positions.

"Making smoothies is not all that serious," Battle said. "It doesn't require as much training as other positions in Food Court or Homeplate might, such as working at the grill."

According to Food Court supervisor Christopher Halford, the few students employed at Food Court or Home Plate work only limited hours during the weekend. For example, the dish room in Food Court currently has only one student employee.

Topside and The Blend also have less supervision for student employees. Topside is entirely student-run and The Blend assigns only one full-time employee to work with students.

Tyler Hawkins '07 and Lacy Ferrell '05, who work at The Blend, praised their supervisor as easy to work for.

On the flip side, Topside manager Todd Tattershall had a similar experience with his student employees.

"The general rule is when the place is clean and quiet, I have no problem with them doing work for classes," he said.

All DDS student employees enjoy the benefits of higher pay than most on-campus jobs. Meal plan discounts and access to free food add to the list of bonuses.

While Topside don't receive free good, they do benefit from studying time in a relaxed atmosphere and dress code compared to other DDS jobs.

But despite more lenient dress codes there, many student employees still wear the green T-shirts with DDS embroidered on them.

Most student employees cited making money as the most important reason for working for dining services.

For some, the slightly higher wages have lured them to choose that job as opposed to sitting in an air-conditioned office, making copies or checking out books at the library.

Most students interviewed by The Dartmouth said they use the money they have saved to cover tuition costs, or pay for plane tickets home.

"I work so I wouldn't have to feel guilty and ask my parents for money every time I want to go out, or buy something," DDS employee Tami Fay '07 said.

Within DDS, more experience and later hours usually mean higher pay. Student supervisors can get as much as $9.25 per hour.

DDS student employees said their interactions with student customers are mostly free of tension.

Ferrell, a Blend employee, identified a single occasion during which a student customer insisted that her smoothie cup be filled all the way to the top.

"But, otherwise, people are pretty happy with the service ... and the Island Freeze seems to be everyone's favorite," Ferrell said.