XU Dining keeps students fed during quarantine

by griffin brammer, staff writer
Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer
Xavier Dining employee fills the breakfast boxes that will be delivered to the students who are isolating both on and off campus. The students who deliver the meals also complete other task for quarantined students.

In the time of a global pandemic, Xavier has had to get creative in its accommodations for its quarantined students. With hundreds of kids locked in their rooms who need to eat, the problem of how to deliver their food and other necessities arose. The solution is a team of students here at Xavier who work to make sure all necessities are delivered to those living under quarantine.

Tyler Gilkey, a senior psychology major, is one of these students. Of the dozen or so students on the team, Gilkey has been working the longest. He explained that the first, and primary job, is food delivery. “We show up to the caf and we just put all the food together. Then, we take it to people all across campus, and the Hilton down the street,” Gilkey explained. “It’s honestly really plain and simple.”

However, it isn’t just food that the team delivers. “We also work on call shifts throughout the day to help out with anybody in quarantine who might need anything,” Gilkey said.  These needs may be prescriptions or something important left behind in a student’s room.  The team also helps deliver mail to the quarantined students.

Being on the delivery team the longest has added an additional task for Gilkey. In addition to his usual delivery tasks, Gilkey also helps train new members of the team. The new recruits will usually shadow Gilkey for a few shifts after meeting with the team’s supervisor and Xavier staff member Sandy Chan. “I’ll give them some pointers and ideas,” Gilkey stated, “Like, this is where the van is. This is where you get the keys. This is where you go for the on-call shift.”

As an RA of three years, Gilkey first became interested in the job when the senior director of student affairs brought up an offer for the job to his fellow resident assistants before the job was officially in place.  Gilkey offered to help, as the pay was decent, but ended up sticking around to continue to help his fellow students.

“I liked that I was able to help people,” Gilkey said, “It’s hard sometimes to do outside work as an RA, so for me at least, personally, it’s a really cool opportunity to still participate in what I believe a good RA is – to help other people, to be there for them when they need you. In a way, that makes me feel safe and helps people get what they got to get.”

Gilkey also hopes that by doing his job, he can make those miserable in quarantine feel a little bit better.  “Quarantine is hard.  That’s a long time that you’re just alone, and so it’s nice. People might not see you, but you’re the only knock on their door they’ll get for two weeks.”

Although Gilkey wishes to make people’s days better through his job, there have still been some complaints among students of inconsistent or slow deliveries and missing or incorrect orders.  However, Gilkey is adamant that, although the delivery service is new, they are listening to feedback and working on solutions.  

“I will say that it’s frustrating to me, too, when students don’t get the food that they need,” Gilkey assured.  “This is something new that everyone is trying to handle and deal with, there’s a certain level of preparation as a whole that Xavier can make.”

Some of the changes implemented by the delivery team include doubling the students on delivery duty, and as a whole increasing their team to around 15 members.  “There are gonna be hiccups, there are gonna be missteps, but I think that we’ve gotten a lot better at it throughout the year,” Gilkey said, “At the beginning, it was a little choppier because we were learning as we went.”

So if you find yourself having to quarantine anytime soon, remember to be patient with the people delivering your meal, because they do have your best interest in mind.  “We are human, we make mistakes, all that anyone can ask is that we learn from them,” Gilkey says, “But we all care a lot, and we’re thinking of the quarantined students and doing the best we can”