There is one undeniable fact that anyone who’s interacted with young adults can attest to: A college student is always hungry.
So sometimes, it takes major planning and a significant effort to ensure that thousands of them have enough nutrition to go about their day.
Karen Bajumpaa at North Dakota State College of Science is one of those people.
Currently the Assistant Director in Dining Services at NDSCS, Bajumpaa first got started at the college more than 20 years ago. After relocating to Wahpeton in 1997, she saw an opportunity for employment as the Dining Services Supervisor. The rest is history.
“I supervise the daily operations within the Flickertail Dining Room, Wild Grounds Café, and Catering,” Bajumpaa said, noting that day-to-day operations call for a dynamic staff. “We have a great department; it takes everyone to start and finish the day. We also have great student employees.”
Through the years, what’s kept her at it is a can-do attitude, a great team, and the daily interaction with the students. Given the numbers (125-150 for breakfast, 500-600 for lunch, 450-550 for dinner), that’s a lot to keep track of.
“Each year we have new students and the returning students that remember us,” she said. “It is great when you are not at work and students say ’Hi!’ or when past students come back to visit and check how we are doing.”
Through the years, Bajumpaa said that there have been some big changes, and some lasting ones.
Working through the Flickertail Dining Room remodel while continuing to provide services for summer events was one such major change she noted. Another? “Specialty diets for students have increased. The Dining Services employees do a great job to make sure that they are taken care of. We work with Partnership for Health to encourage healthy selections for our students.”
“NDSCS provides so much for our students and employees,” she added. “We work together to provide for our customers.”
Outside of her role at the College, Bajumpaa said she loves just spending time with her family.v