Rhythms at Semester: Dish Pit

by Ahna Draper (Virginia)

DIIIISH PIT!” the words reverberate throughout the dining hall.

This ‘call” is a sign that a meal has just come to a close and cleanup has begun. People start making their way to the kitchen with dirty dishes in hand, ready for dish pit to start washing. Once the crowd makes their way out of the kitchen, a timer starts, music begins to play, and six students launch into their work. Reenah and Graham hurry out to the dining hall and start cleaning up the mess that was left on the tables and floor. They work their way from cleaning to preparing the tables for the next meal.

In the kitchen, Tanner packs away the leftover food and tidies up while CaseyMae, Gigi, and I tackle the dishes. CaseyMae washes them all by hand. Not a speck of food is left before she hands them off to me to rinse, sanitize, and set on a rack to quickly dry. With lightning speed, Gigi stacks the dishes and puts them away in their proper places. 

The upbeat music that blares from a large speaker keeps us going.

At random times one or another of us will burst into song. Often someone close enough to hear the music will come rushing in and start jamming out to the music. The genres vary from rock to pop to country to rap, pretty much anything that keeps the mood lively and the dish pit moving.

This is a typical illustration of how a dish pit will go on any given day. There are six dish pits teams (A through F) and we all take turns for every meal. Every dish pit is timed, which in turn results in a friendly competition between all the dish pits. We all constantly try to complete our tasks with speed, but also with precision.

Hannah and Liz (the Semester cooks and two of the greatest people on the planet) are in charge of each dish pit. From the first day, they showed us the ins and outs of a dish pit. They keep us all in check and are more than willing to answer any question that we have. With time and guidance, we are now able to perform our jobs with confidence.

During my time spent on dish pit, I have found good camaraderie amongst the members on my dish pit. I have learned what a good work ethic looks like, not only in the kitchen but outside of it too. Teamwork is something else that I have learned. Some of the tasks (such as the dishes) require more than one person and good timing. We have to learn to work well with one another to accomplish the tasks.

At Summit Semester we are taught to strive for excellence in everything that we do. This goal has been imparted to me by the people I work with during every dish pit. It is something that I will take with me long after I leave Snow Wolf Lodge.