Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Working in Dining Services: Just a Paycheck?
Author(s):Woods, Sha'Donna
Subject(s):student workers
Dining Services
EPS500 F07
Abstract:What do students who work in EBR Dining Services gain from the experience? From personal experience I know that EBR Dining Services has a high turn over rate. There is a select group of students however who choose to work at EBR on a long term basis. I define long term as having worked at EBR Dining Services for four semesters or more. I want to know why these students choose to continue working at EBR rather than quitting within one or two semesters like other workers. Sub-questions designed to help me answer my main research question are as follows: are there noticeable ethnic, gender, or class trends amongst long term workers? What are some of the rituals associated with the student worker culture at EBR? How are relationships amongst the full-time (Champaign-Urbana resident) workers and the student workers? I predict that through ethnographic observations and interviews I will discover that student workers gain much more than a paycheck from their work experience at EBR. I am assuming that the workers are gaining a meaningful interpersonal experience on the job as well, similar to what they might encounter in a close-knit club or organization.
Issue Date:2008-02-21
Course / Semester:EPS 500pf1: Race and Ethnography: A Study of the University, Prof. Priscilla Fortier. As a member of this course students join a campus-wide learning community in which the University of Illinois is being explored ethnographically. Students begin the course by thinking about what the university is, as well as about race and ethnicity as phenomena within the university's narratives. One area of concentration will be "ethnography," and students learn and practice the basic skills of observation, interviewing, and writing as an ethnographer. They complete several relatively short assignments that are intended to help them develop these skills, as well as one larger ethnographic project on the University. The latter allows students to explore an aspect of the university that has to do with as issue of race or ethnicity. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-22

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Working at the University
    This collection documents the experiences of those who are employed by the university.
  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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