Members of the dining services team at Lander University, in Greenwood, S.C., went hunting last fall. They weren’t searching for new recipes or concepts. They were searching for team building.
“We came together and discussed the importance of a big welcome back for our staff at the beginning of the fall semester,” explains Nancy Goplerud, director of dining services with Aramark. “As Aramark employees, we are fortunate to belong to a large global corporation. However, we are also part of the Lander University culture and family, which is much smaller and much more intimate. For this reason, we decided to encourage our staff to become more educated [about] the campus, faculty, staff and history. We felt it was our duty to our client that our staff knew what it was like to walk [in] the shoes of a student at Lander.”
To get a taste of what student life is like on campus, dining services decided to go on a scavenger hunt. Employees were divided into eight teams and provided a list of clues that took them throughout campus. Clues were also given directly by the university president, through a performance by the theatre department and by listening to the campus radio station.
“As a team-building project, our scavenger hunt was a huge success,” Goplerud says. “In addition to teaching our staff about the university’s history, staff and mission, the scavenger hunt was an opportunity to include our multigenerational, multinational and even our 18 special needs team members,” she shares.
The campuswide event also resulted in some things that the team wasn’t even hunting for. “The scavenger hunt made the dining services team realize its place in Lander University’s family,” Goplerud explains. “The dining services team is more actively involved: attending sporting events and musical productions on a regular basis…and is engaged with the university and each other much further than [just] the kitchen,” she says. “Our staff is greeted daily by name from [members] of other departments.”