The UHart community lost someone very special this past summer. Sandra Vanallen was a long-term dining associate of almost 18 years. Hundreds of current students and alums will remember the caring and smiling face of Sandra. She loved working at “her deli” station since it allowed her the most interaction of all the stations in the Commons. She was affectionately referred to as ‘Mama’ by many students. Sandra was always looking out for her students, from making them food with love, to insuring that every student with a special dietary need could eat safely from her station. Her affinity for the students came naturally the Sandra. She treasured her ‘essential employee’ status, and was one of the dozen or so employees that made it to work every snowstorm. She went above and beyond her call of duty and provided additional support to many students over the years that were in need of school supplies, clothing, and mentoring. Mama’s status resonated with so many students over the years and they always made sure we knew how wonderful they thought she was. We have numerous quotes from students, but our favorites are:
“Mama at the deli station is extremely nice and friendly, she shows she cares about all of the students who go to University of Hartford”
“Sandra, who works the sandwich station, is the one of the most caring employees here. You can tell that she really cares about students and is very easy to talk to and flat out hilarious”
"Her presence will always be felt at the commons and we will forever miss our university dining ‘Mama.’"