MSU dining halls lack approximately 3,500 student employees

EAST LANSING, Mich .– The dining halls at Michigan State University are now for students only or closed for dinner all together because the university cannot find enough staff.

The students are not happy.

“The state of Michigan is experiencing a staffing shortage of epic proportions, something we’ve never seen before,” said Kat Cooper, communications director for residential and hotel services.

Cooper said the university has seen a significant decrease in the number of student workers this year.

“In a typical year, we start the year with 3,900 student team members,” Cooper said. “We have more student team members than full time team members and this year we unfortunately started with just over 400 team members.”

She said people employed in hospitality work 60 to 80 hours per week and limited staff and product shortages resulted in the designation of dining halls only for students or, in the case of halls. Landon and Shaw, complete closure for dinner. .

“We had to take a critical look at our operations to give students the nutrition they need to get through their day,” Cooper said.

MSU freshman Hailey Schindler lives at Landon Hall and said the dining hall closure was really inconvenient.

“It was so convenient living in Landon and going down the stairs and entering the dining room,” Schindler said. “So that’s been kind of a burden, especially on my bank account, as I keep going out to dinner.”

She said she bought a meal plan but didn’t use it.

“If I had known this was going to happen I don’t know if I would have gotten a meal plan honestly because there are so many other options like all the way down the Grand River that I could get and use that are so much closer and honest that I would much prefer than the other dining options, ”said Schindler.

Schindler is not alone in his frustration.

Anna Heim has started a petition to keep Landon Hall open for dinner. Her petition says she is concerned about women traveling alone at night on campus, long round-trip bus trips, and early closing times for nearby options like Biggby and Sparty.

The petition has over 500 signatures.

Cooper said they are working on solutions to some of these concerns, such as providing more options for on-the-go meals.

“We have a program that we call the combo exchange, which is grab-and-go, snacks on the go in our retail areas,” Cooper said. “So we’ve had six a week in the past, we’ve doubled them to twelve. We’ve also added our on-campus business partners to the meal plan so students can have more access to dining anywhere. they are on campus. ”

And run the shuttle to the dining halls.

“We are setting up a shuttle service to get students to Brody quickly and safely,” Cooper said. “We’re also allowing Landon and Shaw’s students to have a take-out lunch to save money for dinner.”

MSU is also trying to hire more people at competitive wages.

“We’ve gone from $ 10 to $ 12 an hour to $ 13 to $ 15 an hour in the areas that we’re struggling to fill,” Cooper said.

Schindler hopes these positions will be filled soon.

“I really hope Landon Hall opens during the winter months at least for dinner, maybe closed for breakfast, just because it’s such an inconvenience to have to walk in the snow and all. that, ”Schindler said. “It’s going to be brutal I think.”

Cooper said they were hosting a hiring fair Thursday at the Breslin Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for part-time mess hall positions.

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