Augustana Dining Services dismissed Peg Volden last Tuesday for poor attendance.
Students took to Twitter with the hashtag #bringbackpeg and posted numerous Facebook memes and statuses, to express discontent.
“Firing Peg was a bad choice,” one meme shared by juniors Jessica Johnson and Ethan Pauley said.
Volden shared students’ sadness regarding her absence and explained why she was released.
“I miss my job,” Volden said. “He fired me because I was late.”
According to Volden, a five-year employee of Augustana Dining Services, she was often absent this summer for personal reasons.
“I lost my mom in June to cancer, so I spent a lot of time with my mom when she was sick,” Volden said. “When she had surgery, I said I wasn’t available to work.”
According to Action Station employee Alec Maier, Augustana’s partnering institution, Sodexo, Inc., has a seven-point policy in which employees receive a point for being late.
Augustana Dining Services general manager Craig Pearson spoke of Volden’s job responsibilities. “Her job was to come in, make omelettes and make sure that she’s on time at 7:15 a.m.,” Pearson said.
Volden saw it differently.
“My favorite part of Augustana was the students,” she said. “That was my whole job. When they needed something, I got it for them.”
Volden understood service, according to sophomore Kristine Bakkevig, who describes Peg as a jovial, pleasant person that was always smiling and truly cared about serving students.
“Peg frequently insisted that I sit down and start eating while I waited for my omelette because she would bring it out to me,” Bakkevig said.
Students are still shocked about the Peg-less omelette line.
“Like the Facebook posts, I was upset,” junior Tabitha Sanderson said. “Who could fire Peg? It’s just not the Augie experience without her.”
Maier misses Peg too, but believes no one should be angry.
“I see her as a friend and as a person I look up to,” Maier said. “But I don’t think they fired her on false grounds. No one should be mad about the situation.”
Student responses to Volden’s firing are welcome, Pearson said.
“I would prefer that they come talk to me if they have a question, or fill out a comment card—but we do not respond to cards that people do not sign.”
Students completed comment cards regarding Peg’s absence, according to senior Amanda Meyer, who observed that the line of communication between dining services and students quickly closed upon her dismissal.
“For a few days after that, Sodexo would take down the comment sheets about Peg,” Meyer said. “Then there weren’t any comment sheets in the box for students to write on for at least two or three days.”
Sophomore Breann Bowar visited the omelette line each day last year.
“Every morning at 7:15 a.m., I went to see Peg, who was my mom at college,” Bowar said. “She knew exactly how I wanted it—peppers, onions, tomatoes, extra spinach and as little oil as possible.”
“The students are like my second family, I miss them horribly,” Volden said.