Eat Well & Get Paid for It

Eugene Won
Photo: Eugene Ho

If you’re desperately in search of a job then look no further than our own University of California Santa Barbara where a magnitude of on-campus jobs are available for students. The school provides numerous opportunities to get involved in something important and productive, as well as befriend fellow peers.

However, if you’re the type of student who loves to eat great food while earning money simultaneously then all signs point to a job at one of UCSB’s four dining commons- Carrillo, De La Guerra, Ortega or Portola.

There are many advantages to working at school such as close range and time efficiency, but students who work at the dining commons unanimously agree that the best part is the food and people. Meals during work hours are comped for employees while discounted rates for the buffets are available outside of shifts.

The huge social system is another great benefit, with 130 students working in Carrillo alone.

“Everybody always hangs out with everybody,” said Carrillo’s Student Personal Manager Hyacinth Lock.

Since the only clear-cut requirements are UCSB enrollment and motivation, student majors and class level vary. Diversity is something highlighted and celebrated with such a position.
Beyond friendship, employees acquire work ethic skills for later in life including task organization and time management. The average student commits 12 to 20 hours weekly. Higher positions require excellent leadership abilities because of responsibilities such as training, assisting customers and managing 20 people a shift.

A dining commons job is sectioned into three phrases based on length of employment. People enter as general staff, or those whose job description includes manual labor such as serving food, sweeping, moping, dish-washing and preparing the kitchen for the following day. Students are then able to apply for supervisor positions who train other workers, assign duties and sign them in and out of daily shifts.

Student managers, who are in charge of office work and partial kitchen management, are at the top of the ladder. They have the opportunity to work with both students and full time employers such as the general manager, production manager, system manager and student personal manager. Student managers help administrative managers check the silverware, food and big customer service issues.

The four dining commons currently recruit a large portion of their student staff before summer. Incoming freshmen receive postcards soliciting their interest in a job through the dining common services, as well information to access a database to apply online.

While it is hard work and does have some shortcomings, student workers highlight that the merits of working at a dining common heavily outweigh the negatives.
“I always come to work excited and all of my best friends throughout college are from Ortega,” said Student Supervisor at Ortega and third-year english major Christina Nguyen.