Meet the Ram-ily

Ram's Den Student WorkersTo an outsider it might look like pure chaos. Far from it. Every day, the students who work in the Ram’s Den kitchen engage in an intricate choreography, and they know the steps by heart. They know precisely what they are doing, and it’s clear they are having a good time.

“Everyone is friendly here,” said student manager Damilola Balogun. “There isn’t one day I go to work that I don’t laugh and smile.” Once you get caught up in the choreography and the pace of the place, it’s hard not to sing along, exchange lighthearted jokes, and enjoy the camaraderie of your co-workers.

The complex inner-workings of the popular dining center in the URI Memorial Union involve a group of enthusiastic student workers, student managers, and chefs all working together to the beat of an eclectic—and loud—soundtrack. This is what Ram’s Den manager Vinnie Joyce calls “the heart of the action.”

There’s plenty of action in the Ram’s Den kitchen, that’s for sure. Each day the Ram’s Den feeds more than 1,800 students, faculty, and staff with the help of 146 student employees, 22 of whom are student managers. Together they do just about everything that would be done at any other kind of restaurant, from preparing food and scheduling staff to sanitizing equipment.

By the end of the school year, the team will have served about 52,000 burgers, 5,000 gallons of ketchup, 960,000 slices of American cheese, 36,000 chicken patties, and 180,000 orders of French fries.

If you ask any of the student staff at the Ram’s Den, they will tell you that working there is about much more than preparing food. It’s a place where they can thrive, grow, and gain management experience. The Ram’s Den Student Manager Program provides students with an opportunity to learn the kind of supervisory and management skills that are what Vinnie Joyce says is “a valuable resume enhancer.”

Student Danielle Boucher was a manager at the Ram’s Den for four years prior to her graduation last month, and she said it was one of the best things she did in college. “I was able to learn food safety and management skills, but more importantly I became part of a family. We call ourselves a Ram-ily.”