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Pete’s Creek employee takes an interest in students

November 14, 2014

College can be stressful but sometimes all it takes to get through a day is a smile and some comfort food, at least according to one Pete’s Creek Market staff member.

Shari Colby, award winning Sodexo worker at UW-River Falls, works during lunchtime hours at Pete’s Creek Market.

Pete’s Creek is the main meal transfer and on-the-go dining facility at UWRF. Chicken Tenders, french fries, macaroni and cheese, and other items are available daily for lunch. It is only open during the fall and spring semesters and only during weekdays. Despite very little variety, there are students who eat at Pete’s Creek every single day.

“There are two main reasons kids keep coming back. We as a crew, at least the ladies we have during the lunchtime, have kids that come back simply because we are so friendly,” Colby said. “Another reason is kids love that comfort food. They just want chicken and fries and that is what they get day after day after day.”

Dining Services at UWRF provides seven different places for students to get meals but it is the friendly service and fresh comfort food that separates Pete’s Creek from the rest and keeps students flowing in every weekday.

“I can always count on Pete’s Creek to give me enough chicken and fries,” senior Barry Gullickson said.

Colby said she swipes approximately 400 cards a day and has served over 80,000 meals in just over five years of working at Pete’s Creek during lunchtime. In that time she has won three dining service awards voted on by the Dining Services Advisory Committee (DSAC).

Colby said it was her goal to work at Pete’s Creek for five years and to win the award, which she has accomplished. The main qualification for the awards are making a difference in the quality of student’s life on a daily basis, something Colby has strived for.

“I have had kids that cry after getting stressed out over classes and I am always a mom so I am always giving out free hugs,” Colby said. “The best memories and the best things that have happened to me here are all kid related — kids, kids, kids.”

Colby said some of those memories have been seeing those “kids” go on to get jobs, get married or even have kids of their own.

The feeling is mutual, at least according Gullickson who attends Pete’s Creek on a regular basis.

“Pete’s would not be Pete’s without Shari,” Gullickson said.

Senior Ryan Connelly complimented not just Colby but the whole Pete’s Creek staff.

“Nicest ladies on campus, bar none. They are always in a good mood and more times than not they are trying to get you to eat your vegetables,” Connelly said.

Colby goes above and beyond by not only being friendly and remembering students names but also by keeping up with what is going on in their lives. She said she has attended student’s sporting events, has gone to dance theatre and even art shows.

“The students have impacted my life,” Colby said. “I try to be involved with them. I try to keep up with current events…to relieve stress and sometimes that is all it takes to help them get through the day.”