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Dining services is making changes in the "Caf"

By Taylor Millman
On September 11, 2012

A college student's world revolves around food. Whether it's ordering in a pizza or getting brunch at the caf, food is constantly on the typical college student's mind. Eating is no longer just subsidence, but a social fad.
That being the norm, today the cafeteria at Sonoma State is working to change its atmosphere and build a community for its students. By launching a new initiative, "For Students by Students," employees and interns hope to recreate the cafeteria experience. It will no longer be a place solely centered on food, but will create an inclusive environment for all students.
Intern and senior Chris Jayden Romo has worked for dining services for three years. He began washing dishes, but his involvement really took off when he became more than just an employee.
"I used to do front of the house and was a manager on the floor," Romo said. "I was leading peers, assisting when needed, and was kind of at the same level as some of the full time staff."
Romo is currently the intern for Guest Services and Community Engagement and is the brand ambassador for dining services. He works directly with students, getting their feedback and making changes to the student experience.
"I ultimately would like to create a new brand for dining services," Romo said. "The brand will take to heart "For Students by Students," which will be the tag line in the new student center."
Keeping true to this motto, the cafeteria (better known as the caf) will focus on creating more jobs for students, developing career tracks, and nurturing a new kind of environment for students.
"Internally, we're going back to incorporating students, valuing students, forming a huge community, and strengthening [relations] with the employees we have," Romo said.
Dining services is working to bring better products to students. "It's all about the experience. That's the largest change," Romo said. "It's not about them sitting down and eating; it's a safe atmosphere."
There are several major changes that have already been made to the caf this year including: new furniture, karaoke nights and music, all of which have changed the dynamics of the caf experience. In addition, there are two BBQ's being held this semester: Sundae Sundays and Breakfast for Dinner.
"We are changing the monotony of what we do," Romo said. "Students eat there every day, and in order to keep them, we need to change it up."
A significant change has also been made in the functioning of the facility; the Zinfandel cafeteria became student-run this year.
"There is a team of leads that basically lead the floor," Romo said. "They don't only support the employees, but they take care of customer problems- all really important to lay our foundation of 'For Students by Students.'"
Romo encourages feedback and enjoys getting to know students. There are feedback cards available at each table, and he welcomes input from all students.
With the new student center on the horizon, there are endless opportunities for the caf to expand and create a larger community.
"The foundation of this project is that I love my job," Romo said. "Dining is more than just a job; it's a community and a family."
Beyond the burgers at the grill and pancakes for brunch, students are taking part in a new initiative. They are a part of an innovative, personal experience created for the students by the students.
Dining services would love to hear your feedback; send texts to 2487 or FSBS, or e-mail students4dining@sonoma.edu
 


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