Though the LDS Church teaches members not to work on Sundays, Katai Mariteragi, a Club Dining Facility supervisor, said the Club has to be open “because students here on campus have to eat.” Student workers at the Club, known as the Caf, said they are content with working on Sunday because of the staff’s accommodations and the atmosphere they create to make it more spiritual.
Mariteragi, a Cook Islands native, said, “We have no choice because students here on campus have to eat. So, we are here to open [the facility] and serve them.”
Haruna Takahashi, a student employee at the Caf, said, “It cannot be helped. If I had an option, I’d like to refrain from working on Sunday, but I totally understand that students living in Hales have nothing to eat if we were closed on Sunday.”
A freshman from Japan studying social work, Takahashi said the employers accommodate for his schedule. “They ask us about our church time when they set a schedule with us so that we can attend a whole church meeting.”
Mariteragi said, “We rotate every other Sunday, so one weekend a student works and next weekend they get to be off. It’s not like they work every Sunday.”
Delsa Manao, a sophomore from American Samoa studying elementary education, said, “I’ve only worked on two Sundays the whole semester,” she said.
“We all know that we shouldn’t be working on Sunday, but I need the hours and money because of tuition and stuff like that. It’s too much. Working just over the week isn’t gonna cover my [expenses].”
Brandon Chan, a junior from Malaysia studying biomedicine, said he is content with “the working conditions at the Cafeteria.” He said he is satisfied because of the flexible schedule and great managers. “Plus, we do get a higher pay compared to other campus jobs,” he added.
“I’ve never missed sacrament [meeting]. If we were to work on Sunday, we would usually have time to go to sacrament meeting,” said Chan.
To help address the spiritual needs of the employees, Mariteragi said the Caf has been implementing a program to bring a Sunday atmosphere into the work place. Employees have a little devotional, and church music is played over the speaker system.
Takahashi said she likes the atmosphere made from the church music. “I don’t usually listen to church songs, so it helps to keep me reminded of the Sabbath Day,” she said.
Manao said, “We usually pray before we start working as a whole team... I know sometimes after church, students are angry and hungry at the same time, so they’re always gonna be rushing in and demanding stuff. So to keep the Spirit, sometimes I try to be patient with them.”
The staff also thought of ideas to ensure students don’t have to work on Sunday. Mariteragi said, “The idea of a second dinner has come to us. We thought about it, but we haven’t surveyed the kids if they want that.
“If kids don’t wanna work on Sunday, then it would have to come down to do the survey of the whole school. Some [students] don’t wanna work here because it’s Sunday, so we have to adjust the schedule. If I gave Sunday off to everyone, then nobody is gonna be able to serve the other students.”
Student workers shared some of their opinions for options the Caf could implement. Takahasi said he thinks the cafeteria could start a system of providing meals such as “Bento Boxes” to provide students on-demand food without the need of workers on Sunday.
Manao said one alternative idea is to have “refrigerator foods outside the Caf [where] students take it and heat it up themselves.”