Campus Closeup: Renee Burns
After a busy day of lectures and note-taking, hungry students can be found at one of Northern's dining areas. Renee Burns (Dining Services) is one of the people in charge of keeping them fed. Burns is one of the cooks at the Marketplace, which is set up with a hot food buffet and salad bar as well as pizza, pasta, deli, Mongolian barbeque and grill stations.
Located in close proximity to most of the residence halls, the Marketplace receives heavy traffic throughout the day. This keeps Burns on her feet from when she arrives at 11:30 a.m. until she clocks out after 8 p.m.
“We prepare a lot of food for each meal because we feed a lot of kids," she said. "Keeping the food bar stocked with the lunch menu while preparing the dinner menu at the same time gets a little crazy, but we cooks work well together, so we manage to keep things running smoothly."
Burns has only been on the NMU staff for three years, but she’s been a Marquette resident ever since her husband’s prison job transferred them here from Detroit in 1985. “The Upper Peninsula is way different than Detroit, obviously. It’s definitely more secluded and a lot less busy, but it’s beautiful,” she said.
The most memorable event so far in Burns’ cooking career is being chased around the University Center with a fish. “I have a big fear of fish, but I don’t really know why. It’s just the way the eyes and the head are situated, it freaks me out. The people I work with know this, and one day they took a fish left over from a banquet and decided to chase me around the UC with it. It was funny, I guess, but awful at the same time.”
Outside of work, Burns participates in a bowling league. “I love to bowl; that’s my main hobby. But I’m also considering taking up golf.”
She also keeps busy with her two grandchildren, ages five and four. “I love being a grandma because when I’m tired of chasing my grandkids around, I can just send them back home. I love them though, and I love spoiling them.” Burns has always loved being around children. “My dream job would be to work as a nurse in a hospital maternity ward, but I still love working here and meeting all of the students; they’re really nice and a lot of fun to work with.”