Student ambassadors at their best

UMass Dining employs 25 student ambassadors. Our SA’s, as we call them, are like our CIA agents in the field. Not only do they assist us in promoting special events, but they also act as mystery shoppers at each meal. More importantly, they pass on information about what they see and hear from other students. Creating this program was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made: These students help us better serve our students.

All SA’s are on the meal plan, and they dine with their friends, just like any other student. And since they are undercover, our managers don’t know who they are, either. The only difference is that these students send us a report once a week. Reports from SA’s are reviewed by several of us and sent to the appropriate units for further action, good or bad.

Each fall, we meet with our student ambassadors to update them on our program and our expectations. We also gather their feedback. It is an open-floor discussion format filled with impromptu questions and suggestions.

We conducted our first meeting of the school year with our SA’s last week. As always, they provided us with lots of insight and information about our program. They also suggested ways we can use to make our program more conducive to the needs of our students. For example, they like our make-to-order salad program, but suggested that we advertise the program on both ends of the salad bar so the program objective is clear. Also, in our Berkshire DC, they found that the Pasta Pronto station needs to be faster during lunchtime. Both suggestions have been noted.

I think our student ambassadors love their jobs. Not only do they receive a stipend each semester, but also they are able to see their suggestions being implemented.

UMass Dining serves 40,000 meals daily. We appreciate the feedback from everyone, but our SA’s are some of the unsung heroes, helping us make UMass Dining even better. Thank you so much for your help!

If you possess passion for UMass Dining and want to be a SA, please email Martha, the manager of the SA program, at mmonaghan@mail.aux.umass.edu. In less than 100 words, tell her why you want to be a SA.

This is Ken Toong. Thank you for keeping UMass Dining at the top.

Contact Ken at ktoong@mail.aux.umass.edu

You can follow Ken Toong on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/KenToong