As student employees for Sodexo at Tarleton State University, my co-workers and I had a tremendous opportunity to learn about the business of creating exceptional experiences for students on campus. In our roles, we support Sodexo’s team by managing labor and weekly schedules, overseeing the unit and district level financials, and graphic design for our district manager’s region. This hands-on exposure to campus dining not only gives us a real-world glimpse into the hospitality industry, but it’s also extending our college education outside of the traditional classroom.
Recently two of my co-workers and I had an interesting opportunity to visit another campus in our region to meet with students and conduct surveys about their dining program. Being strangers trying to take time out of a student’s day, we felt as if we had a challenging task in front of us. However, the students and faculty we encountered were truly eager to fill our surveys out and let us know what they liked and disliked about their dining program. We were surprised by the similarities as well as the differences between the dining programs on both campuses. We also found it interesting to learn what issues were important to students on that campus. The students requested that they be provided with healthier options at dining hall locations as well as a wider variety of options. They also wanted on-campus retail dining locations to rival those found in the community surrounding their campus.
It is these experiences that make our work with Sodexo an integral part of our college education. Although we learn a great deal from lectures and text, we find that our work with the Tarleton State dining program gives us a unique perspective on the business that’s nearly impossible to replicate. We definitely encourage students interested in a career in hospitality at other Sodexo-served campuses throughout Texas and across the country to see if they can join similar programs!
All three authors are student employees for Sodexo at Tarleton State University. Tanner Smith is a student manager, Katie Campbell is a district administrator and Victoria Miller is a district graphic designer.