Most students have eaten at least one meal on campus, with different experiences. Some waited in a line that wrapped around Books & Bites to receive a toasted wheat bagel with turkey. Others waited in line at Letchworth to get a grilled chicken sandwich. In between growling stomachs and decisions of what to order, there are the employees of Campus Auxilary Services (CAS) itself.
It becomes a habit to see the same people serving food, making a sandwich, scooping ice cream, or swiping meal cards. One could almost forget that they are often students as well, that they too have waited in line, patiently or not, for the same food. It's almost a surprise when the person handing us that Hershey's creation is someone we know.
However, for CAS employee Shivani Polasani, a sophomore, that's the best part. "I like getting to meet new people and even becoming friends with some of them." She works as a cashier at GUS two days a week and says that it's a really fun job to have. "You see the same people over and over so that when you see them in other places around campus you can say 'Hi' and get to know them better." This is her second year as a CAS employee and she says she'd love to do it again next year. "I worked at RJ last year, but I love GUS. I'd only really want to work here."
Sophomore Jennifer Perez has similar sentiments for GUS. "My favorite part is my co-workers. They make me happy and are fun to work with." She works at the Hershey's Creation Station and the Grind twice a week in three-hour shifts. "I work two to five on Thursdays, and that's when we're usually dead, but I keep busy and the time goes by fast. I usually watch over ice cream, hot foods, and the deli because we rarely get rushed during this time."
CAS workers are a staple on campus, yet they are often overlooked and at times under-appreciated. The fact that people cook and serve them food doesn't seem to be a big deal to most students, nor does it deliver much shock value. However, without them lines would most likely be even longer and the food not nearly as good as it is.
"It's hard, because when we have a rush, people get impatient," Perez said. "They seem to underestimate the time it takes to mix the ice cream, and they just aren't nice about it." While no one can blame students for getting antsy, especially when they're running late for class and want to grab a quick bite to eat, it should also be recognized that the CAS workers are going as quickly as they can while still maintaining quality service.
"The hardest part for me," Polasani stated as she swiped a meal card through the register, "is smiling and being cheerful when I've had a bad day. It's rare, but everyone has bad days and bad moods and I have to grin and bare it." She continued, "I love this job I really do, but bad days are bound to happen."
CAS is an appealing job option, especially for those without a car on campus. The management also understands when a class is across the campus and gets out five minutes before the start of the shift. "Some days I'm a couple of minutes late," Polasani mentioned, "but the manager is really understanding about it. I run here after a lab."