William Persson ’18

What made you choose Hillsdale?

I applied to Hillsdale and schools in Min­nesota, and I felt that I wasn’t really valued by those schools when I had applied. I didn’t get much schol­arship money, they didn’t seem to want me there. Hillsdale seemed like the option because they really cared and it was a spur of the moment decision. It was the right one, because I fell in love right away

What did you major in and why?

I was a double major in phi­losophy and math­e­matics. I pri­marily started with my phi­losophy major because it allowed me a great level of cre­ativity. I feel lucky that all my pro­fessors allowed me to express myself in those courses. They would give prompts, but would allow me to write some­thing else if I had some­thing other in mind. They were very sup­portive of me pur­suing in what I was inter­ested in within the course’s bounds. This helped me when I had to take on higher level work, like writing my thesis. I wouldn’t have been able to come up with the topic that I did if I hadn’t pushed outside the box.

I think that my majors, specif­i­cally phi­losophy, gave me the cre­ative thinking that is required for the position in mar­keting. It takes a cre­ative way of thinking and that can be fos­tered in a more liberal arts major, like phi­losophy or English. They encourage you to be cre­ative even if it doesn’t seem rel­evant, it really does make you think outside the box.

What do you enjoy about working for Bon Appetit?

I enjoy the people, including the stu­dents, that I work with. They bring joy to my life in dif­ferent ways. They’re all unique people and it’s nice to do things with them that are fun and exciting. I’ve always loved food and have been cooking for a very long time. I used to bond with my mom when we would watch Food Network t.v shows, like Rachel Ray. It was fitting that I came to a position where I was working with food, even if it’s not in that direct cooking manner. I do enjoy the cre­ative side of it, because I think cooking can be an art form. It’s about the methods of what you’re doing with it, but also what you can create with that. Playing with flavors is a way to expe­rience beauty just as much as any­thing else. So it’s really fun for me to bring dif­ferent foods to the college and show what Bon Appetit has to offer to the stu­dents through my own methods.

What are some things you have learned/benefited from it?

Bon Appetit has helped me develop inter­per­sonal skills with other people. It’s taught me how to gauge indi­viduals’ skills and interests, so that I can best work with them. My job is pri­marily coor­di­nation, so I’m working with a lot of older people to do what I’m doing with respect to mar­keting. Because of that, I have to learn other people’s styles of how they work and what they thrive doing. I don’t want to make their job a burden by intro­ducing the mar­keting com­ponent to it. I want to make it a seamless whole.

What are some tips about Saga you’d like people to know?

We are always willing to work with people with dietary restric­tions. We are well aware that stu­dents live gluten-free lifestyles or don’t eat meat. So we do want to work with them to ensure that they do have more options. We want to help, but we won’t know unless they reach out to us. We want to help you, we’re here for the stu­dents to make sure that they’re healthy and happy. It does help to go on our website and learn what the menu icons mean, because they’re infor­mative for people with special diets.

I try to schedule edu­ca­tional and inter­active events, both as some­thing that the company offers as a tool for me and that it’s good for guests. Our Food Fair Well-Being series, which we’ll usually do two dif­ferent topics a month, is very infor­mative about eating healthy. For example, one of the topics was about added sugars and how to be aware of them. We should only have a certain amount of sugar a day and Amer­icans typ­i­cally have a lot more than the maximum. An instant oatmeal pack has an insane amount of sugar and I don’t think a lot of people realize some­thing like that. A lot of people overlook these kinds of things, but they’re really important to learn about.

Any secret food com­bi­na­tions?

You can often combine what is in Market with food around the cafe. It’s a cool food trick you can do. To mix it up, you can get veg­etables from Comfort or Passport. You can get a pretty com­plete meal if you think about what you’re plating. Just being more mindful, not just what you can do quickest, is more rewarding as well. A lot of people do like to plan what they’re going to eat and we do send menus out everyday in email inboxes if you’re sub­scribed.