For those who drew a losing ticket in the freshman housing lottery, the trials and tribulations that come with living on Newton are all too familiar—the uncomfortably overcrowded and significantly undersized Hut, limited study spaces, and law students serving as a constant reminder to steer clear of law school. In the late winter months it’s a guessing game as to which will come first: the bus or hypothermia. But it isn’t always as bad as it seems. Newton is often viewed as a safe haven away from main campus; it serves as an escape after an overwhelming day of classes or a bad test grade.
Despite all of Newton’s infamous shortcomings, it does have one irrefutable selling point. Stuart Dining Hall is the staple that holds Newton Campus together; an entire article could be written about the Legal Eagle Panini station, another about the lines compared to other dining halls, or lack thereof.
The true saving grace of Newton is the staff that works day in and day out to make Stuart Dining Hall the well-oiled machine that it is. It’s easy to forget that each person who cooks every night in the dining hall or who sorts through mountains of packages in the mail room has his or her own story, each interesting in its own way.
Whether it comes from Celly’s “You’re welcy’s” or Q’s characteristic laugh, there is no shortage of kindness, courtesy, or personality on Stuart’s staff. A vital part of Stuart’s personality is Dolores Joyce. Although she has only been a member of Stuart’s dynamic staff for two years, she has been working at Boston College for over five.
“I started working at BC in 2010,” Joyce says. “Initially, I worked in Lyons for about three years. About two years ago I began working at Stuart and I have loved every minute of it since.”
In her charming Irish brogue, she chronicled a much more significant change, even more so than her move from Lyons to Stuart.
“I immigrated to the United States at age 19,” she explained. “I was born and raised in Galway. It’s a beautiful city located on the western coast of Ireland.”
Outside of her work at Stuart she is a wife and a mother of three. But, she says, her coworkers serve as a sort of second family. Evidence of this second family can be seen throughout Stuart, where coworkers laughing together and helping each other is commonplace. This dynamic isn’t exclusive to the working staff. Students are able to develop relationships with staff as a result of the smaller numbers and intimate nature of Stuart, something lost in translation with the bigger dining halls. According to Dolores, these relationships are an unparalleled aspect of her work environment.
“It’s a great place to work,” she says emphatically. “It’s the perfect combination of a wonderful job mixed with a great working environment. I love the people I work with, and I genuinely enjoy the interactions I have with students. I love it all.”
She continued on, citing a chief reason for the positive work environment to be Stuart’s new general manager, Sharyl Thompson. Thompson, a former assistant manager in McElroy Dining Hall, was promoted to her new position at the beginning of this year.
“Sharyl has been fantastic, it has been nothing but a great experience working under her,” Joyce says. “I truly attribute a huge part of the environment around Stuart to her, she’s wonderful and encourages the fun, personal environment seen around Stuart.”
Despite the added benefits of a smaller dining hall serving less people, Stuart is only a building. The true value comes from those that work inside the building, smiling and laughing as you hand them your Eagle ID.
When asked if the whole of Stuart was greater than the sum of its parts, Joyce laughed.
“Maybe it is," she says, "but all of its individual parts are pretty great too.”