On Monday, mozzarella stick lovers and buffalo chicken fingers enthusiasts alike rejoiced in the opening of Jack Magee’s Pub & Grill, or what Bowdoin students call “the Pub.” Located in an alcove of Smith Union’s Morrell Lounge, the Pub has been dedicated to providing students with a variety of classic savory dishes, including burgers, pizzas and sandwiches since 1995.
Despite an ahead-of-schedule, non-student worker minimum wage increase to $17 per hour in response to national labor shortage, the College continues to suffer staffing shortages. Dining Services Interim Director Ken Cardone estimates that his department has around twenty to twenty-five open “casual positions,” defined by the College as non-student employees that work fewer than twenty hours per week.
The College saw a small number of new COVID-19 cases as students and staff returned to campus after fall break. Two students and one staff member tested positive for the virus on October 14, followed by two more positive cases among staff members on October 17 and 18.
Dining Services announced this week its plan to raise the starting wage of student employees to $14.25 per hour in response to the nationwide labor shortage that has led to a staffing deficiency across many of the College’s departments.
In response to the improved COVID-19 infection rate on campus, the College will relax some of its Yellow status restrictions related to dining and residence halls effective today, Friday, September 17. Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Director of Residential and Student Life and COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen announced the change in an email to the Bowdoin community Wednesday afternoon, crediting the original restrictions for the low levels of transmission over the past ten days.
The campus-wide shift to status Yellow last Thursday included the dining halls’ abrupt transition to exclusively takeaway meals. However, Bowdoin Dining Services and the Bowdoin Sustainability Office were prepared for the change and have built upon their work from last year to improve food packaging options and further develop a means for efficient and sustainable waste disposal on campus.
In an email to the campus community yesterday, COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen announced that the College would be moving to status Yellow effective immediately. The decision was made after 14 students tested positive for COVID-19 over the last two days.
The College will raise the minimum wage for all hourly workers by $1.50—from $15.50 to $17.00 per hour—on Monday, September 6. This raise comes ten months ahead of Bowdoin’s 3-year plan, which had anticipated this wage increase by July, 2022.
Serving students in-person or, temporarily, through take-out, Dining Services is readjusting to accomodating a full-capacity campus for the first time in a year and a half. But as the number of people lining up for meals every day has risen, the number of dining employees has lagged behind.
Yesterday, Moulton Union re-opened for lunch for the first time since closing last week after six positive COVID-19 cases emerged among the dining hall’s staff beginning April 6. After the initial case, the College began administering rapid antigen tests to Moulton employees, which led to the identification of four more positive cases.
Moulton Union will be closed until breakfast tomorrow after three employees tested positive for COVID-19 this week, COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen wrote in an email to the community on Thursday. Ranen wrote that the College closed the dining hall as a “precautionary measure.” Moulton dining employees will come to campus to receive a rapid antigen and PCR test every day, but they will leave campus immediately after they complete both tests.
A second staff member in Moulton Hall tested positive for COVID-19, COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen announced in an email to the community on Tuesday. Ranen clarified in his message that the case was not related to the positive case reported on Monday.
When Emma Hargreaves ’23 was hired as a server at Thorne Hall in February, she anticipated regular hours and a steady income. “I wanted to do two or three shifts a week,” she said in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
The Bowdoin Sustainability Office is building on its work from last semester to promote environmental awareness and sustainable practices in an extraordinary campus environment. COVID-19 guidelines restricting in-person dining and large gatherings have created new challenges for the office in reducing waste, organizing programming and spreading its messaging to the student body.
A second Dining Services employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, Mike Ranen, COVID-19 resource coordinator, announced in an email to all students and employees on Thursday afternoon. Both employees work in Thorne Hall. Two additional employees were identified through contact tracing as having been in close contact with the second individual who tested positive.
On Thursday night, two days before the move-out deadline for most on-campus students, dining services served Thanksgiving dinner at both dining halls. This year, one of the College’s most extravagant meal traditions has been adapted to a smaller scale.
On Monday, the College opened Thorne dining hall for indoor dining for on-campus students. For months, students have picked up meals from Thorne and Moulton dining halls, filing through the six feet apart stickers, grabbing to-go meals without a salad bar and choosing items from a snack section in lieu of the usual SuperSnack.
Bowdoin Dining Service, usually one of the leading employers for on-campus students, has had to make changes to its hiring practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these difference are reductions in hour availability, modified positions and new training procedures.
Over the past few months, the College has implemented various measures to safely bring some students back to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. From altering dining halls to cleaning common areas more often, many departments on campus have been hard at work.
With SuperSnack closed for the first weekend of the semester, students will—for the second year— be able to tuck into free snacks at Food Truck Maineia, which opened last night and continues tonight on Dudley Coe Quad.
Accommodating potentially 1,500 students, faculty and staff in a space meant to seat 630 could be a recipe for disaster. However, thanks to much foresight and organization, Bowdoin Dining Service was able to provide refuge and electricity in Thorne Hall during this week’s power outage.
A storm Sunday night and Monday morning caused extensive power outages, affecting campus and a record number of people in Maine. All classes scheduled before 10 a.m. were canceled by Elizabeth F. McCormack, dean of academic affairs, and many more later in the day have been canceled at professor discretion.