A broken elevator in the University Center has impacted dining operations in Lower Cort and has required the dining halls to use disposable, rather than reusable tableware.
The Bethlehem Fire Department arrived at the UC two weeks ago, after a DC motor in the elevator overheated, causing smoke to set off the alarms. Since then, the elevator has remained unusable, and Dining Services employees have been forced to utilize the only other elevator in the building.
Dining Services operates on all floors of the UC. These facilities include student dining, retail operations and faculty dining. David Joseph, the executive director of student auxiliary services, said with the elevator used specifically for dining services being broken, it has changed the dining operations.
Joseph said the inability to transport clean dishes to the different floors of the building has resulted in an increased workload for the Sodexo staff.
“It increases manpower and adds to the physical toll on the staff,” he said. “They realize things like this happen and they take it all in stride, making adjustments to continue to provide services.”
Bruce Christine, the general manager of Dining Services, said there is not enough manpower to continue using regular tableware. Using Styrofoam plates was their last resort.
In one day, the total number of Styrofoam plates being used is approximately 3,000 to 3,500. This poses a large problem because disposables cost more than normal tableware.
“By the time we go through the day, it’s phenomenally expensive,” Christine said.
Christine also said that the hours of operations, meals and menus for all the dining options in the UC have remained the same.
The elevator has also impacted the way food deliveries function. Much of the food is now brought in through the basement of the UC, through the hallway or the second floor.
On Friday, 16 palettes of food were delivered. Typically, workers would use the palette jack and transport the palettes of food into the elevator to the appropriate floor. Without the functioning elevator, the food needed to be removed from the palette piece by piece, transported in a truck and be brought in a different way.
The broken elevator has primarily impacted Lower Cort and its operations. Product offerings in the retail section of Upper have remained the same and the same tableware is being used.
Karen Valerio, ’17, a Sodexo worker at Upper Court, said the broken elevator hasn’t affected the Upper Cort workers, aside from those who have to take out the trash. Valerio said that trash transportation has slowed down, and the trash bags have to be lighter so that workers can transport the trash without using carts and the elevator.
Christine said in regular circumstances, trash is usually picked up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, due to the use of disposables, there has been an increase in trash, resulting in a six-day pickup schedule.
Christine also said preventative maintenance is done on the elevators. He said the broken elevator is old, which is why it has taken longer to repair it. The elevator has broken down in the past, but no one has noticed because it’s never been down this long.
The necessary parts needed to be located before any repairs could be made. The parts have been located, so it is expected that the elevator will be in service in the near future.