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Student Dining Services Employees Wins Award

Dining Hall Innovations Lead to Regional Award for Student

Senior Moses Preciado is one of six finalists for National Association of College and University Food Services Student Employee of the Year award

(May 18, 2011)

Moses PreciadoEnlarge

Moses Preciado

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Lots of college students work in dining halls to make money during school, but few have the same impact as UC Riverside senior Moses Preciado, one of six regional finalists in the National Association of College and University Food Services Student Employee of the Year award.

The South Gate, Calif., native was named NACUFS 2011 Pacific Region Student Employee of the Year on May 12 for his four years of improvements and innovations to UCR Dining Services. The national award winner will be announced at the national conference in Dallas, Texas, in July.

Preciado, a public policy major, had no restaurant experience when he began working for dining services at the start of his freshman year in September, 2007, but four years later, he “has become the template…” for dining services supervisors, General Manager Mark Claiborne wrote in his nomination letter to NACUFS.

Though his title is student manager, Preciado “is viewed as an invaluable member of the management staff,” Claiborne wrote. “….Virtually every front-line operational idea or initiative is bounced off him before we proceed.”

Among his many contributions, Preciado developed a “Google Docs” program that allows student supervisors to access common documents from any college computer instead of being tied to a specific office, Claiborne said, improving efficiency and productivity. Preciado also developed a program to manage and create certificates for the student recognition program, “saving the staff countless hours by no longer having to enter items into the system one at a time.”

When Dining Services decided to try late night pizza sales in student housing, “only one name was mentioned as the person who would lead that endeavor,” Claiborne said, “and “Preciado, as usual, exceeded expectations” by coordinating the menu, creating the menu and pricing, assisting in hiring and training staff, developing an online menu and ordering system and creating a special discounted menu for student groups.

Late-night pizza has averaged $1,100 in sale a night under Preciado’s stewardship, Claiborne said, and this year, Preciado has led a new social media team to promote residential dining on Twitter and Facebook.

Preciado “exemplifies the definition of ‘going above and beyond,’” Claiborne said. “I have been astounded at the manner he can expertly balance the high quality and quantity of work he produces for Dining Services and his academic schedule.” Preciado is also production manager of The Highlander campus newspaper and an active member of Mujeres Unidas, a public service organization that raises funds for local emergency shelters and victims of domestic violence.

Once he graduates in June with a degree in public policy, Preciado’s hopes to get a job in city management or city planning in Riverside or Los Angeles counties. Managing dining halls may seem a far cry from his goals, but Preciado said the experience has helped him grow.

“The process of identifying a problem and then proposing a solution that yields the greatest net benefit is what policy making is all about,” he said.

“My involvement in Dining Services has allowed me to participate in the decision-making process and practice policy making in a real-world environment. ...The managers and director actively sought my participation in the decision-making process and often asked for my opinion. In this manner, my position became more than just a job; it became a valuable learning experience.”

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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