TWN is being produced by AUT journalism students working under Covid19 pandemic restrictions.

Feeding locked-down students keeps university cafe workers busy

August 20, 2020

Feeding locked-down students keeps university cafe workers busy

Examples of the lockdown food some of the 550 students in AUT apartments are being served. Photo: Esme O'Rafferty

AUT cafe staff are feeding 1100 meals to about 550 students despite the lockdown closure of campus cafes.

The students are socially isolating in AUT’s student accommodation.

AUT hospitality services director David Green said the university has been able to shift cafe workers temporarily into other positions.

“We’ve kept all of our teams working through lockdown,” he said. “We haven’t lost anybody.”

Hospitality services is providing free meals to students at AUT accommodation at the city and north campuses.

“We’ve got a kitchen team doing that work and then cafe staff are assisting in delivering it,” Mr Green said.

“Because we run the whole thing we are able to move people around.”

He said when the cafes close, hospitality services try to ensure that the staff can still get their hours.

“We always try to look after our teams. Either through security work, or concierge work, doing deliveries or things like that.

“During level 4 we even had a bunch of people doing archive work.”

Jai Pandya has lived in the AUT accommodation on Mount St since February.

He said while he had to get used to reheating the cardboard boxed meals, they have been good quality.

“The food’s really good. We’re getting roast dinners and stuff.”

He reported that the meals can be a little small, but the university was providing plenty of options for students with different dietary requirements.

“One of my friends on north campus is getting vegetarian options.

“It’s free food they’re giving us which is pretty good.”

David Green said the service will continue at least until the Prime Minister’s next lockdown announcement, and the cafe casual staff will continue to be employed.

“Everybody has stuff to do and we keep in touch with each other and make sure everybody’s OK.”

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