As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook University is also responsible for employing a great deal of students. More than two dozen of the student employees working in dining services have risen in the ranks to become student managers, a position in which they have the opportunity to lead and organize fellow students and gain valuable leadership experience in the workforce. Lackmann Culinary Services, Stony Brook’s current food service provider, has also instituted a series of new training programs for professional employees so they may be role models to student employees.
The advantages of having a large group of student staff in various campus positions are not only a benefit to young workers, but to the larger campus community as well. Since 2008, the Faculty Student Association (FSA) has provided Stony Brook students with more than $800,000 of on-campus student employment, as well as offering students the chance to gain valuable work experience and customer service skills. These skills may be the deciding factors in whether students gain employment after they leave campus. As an added benefit, whenever someone purchases food on campus, the money goes toward paying the salaries of student workers to fund their tuition, books, and expenses. Most Campus Dining Service student employees are paid above minimum wage and can receive an increase of up to 25¢ for every 150 hours worked. In addition to making money, learning new skills, and making friends, there are many special compensation programs such as end of semester bonuses, the early return program with bonuses and paid for early entry housing and the return to work wage increase.
Every year, the FSA’s Student Staffing Resources Office collects extensive feedback surveys from the student workers to focus upon potential improvements that can be implemented toward a more progressive work experience. Director of Human Resources Warren Wartell is in the process of reestablishing the Student Staff Council, an organization of student staff that would represent all FSA student workers. The council’s goal is to discuss, review, and resolve the issues that student workers have with their work experience and act as a means to effect gainful change. Campus Dining Services has also begun to document coaching efforts and institute food handling and customer service training for student workers.
“If the success of such past efforts is indicative of what can be achieved, today’s student staff can look forward to a more interesting and productive work experience” said Wartell.