Union Drive Marketplace (UDM) ice cream machines have not yet been operational for the 2021-22 school year. They will likely remain unavailable for the remainder of the fall semester, but UDM dining room staff are hoping the machines will be ready by spring.
“Ice cream machines are always a priority, but we decided at this point to maybe try to just finish the semester,” said Jeremy Bowker, acting director of food services in the campus food services department. . “We keep our fingers crossed that the spring is a better one in terms of people and production.”
UDM staff originally planned to make the ice cream machines available for the fall semester, but several obstacles stood in their way.
At the beginning of August, they had to order new O-rings for the machines, which did not arrive until the end of October.
“We get them directly through Spaceman, which is the company that builds [the ice cream machines]”Bowker said.” It was just a problem with the service, the availability of the products and just the length of time it took to get here. “
However, even with the O-rings, UDM staff are currently unable to keep up with machine maintenance.
“Just cleaning a machine takes four hours,” Bowker said. “The reason it takes four hours total is that we have to turn it off, empty it, rinse it and take everything apart. We have to wash everything, let it dry a little and lubricate all those openings, and then we have to put everything back together. ”
The health code requires UDM staff to clean machines every day, but like most industries and establishments, they currently have a shortage of workers.
“We normally hire, you know, let’s say 24 supervisors that we have on staff,” Bowker said. “But we only have a fraction of that this year, so unfortunately it comes down to ‘what do we really want to open right now. “”
UDM staff must also have the machines examined by a service company, as they have not been used since spring 2020 due to COVID-19.
“Since we haven’t put them to work for so long, we have to bring a service company here to make sure everything is really top notch,” Bowker said. “The last thing we want to do is turn them all on, just to turn them off again.”
Bowker plans to give a service company a tour between Thanksgiving and the winter break. He also confirmed that the UDM has already hired several students for the spring semester.
While nothing can be guaranteed, ice cream lovers can expect a strong possibility of ice cream at UDM this spring, with the accompaniment of various toppings, such as hot fudge, caramel and sprinkles. .