Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “I Can Do That.”

CHANCELLOR MARTIN TAKES ON FOOD SERVICE

Sally Minor has worked in Williams Dining Hall for five years. On Dec. 4, she worked closely with an unlikely co-worker in Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

“It was cool,” Minor said. “I’ve worked his holiday events but I have never been around him like that. He’s so open with the students – he talked to everybody.”

In an effort to engage more with the campus community and better understand the intricacies and importance of their work and contributions to the university, Martin has agreed to perform several jobs that would normally be occupied by students, staff and faculty members in a challenge called, “I Can Do That.”

For the first challenge, Martin agreed to work at the dining hall on one of the busiest days of the week.

“I enjoyed my time interacting and working alongside the staff in Williams Dining Hall,” Martin said. “My experience left me with an even greater appreciation for the work they do and the role they play in advancing the work of this institution. It is not an easy task.”

During lunch, the chancellor toured the entire dining hall to get a sense of the preparation and service. Dining hall staff trained Martin on preparing and serving food at the vegan station and the dessert station prior to spending an hour on the main line serving and interacting with students.

“It’s cool that he is here and interacting this way with the students. You don’t see a lot of chancellors doing that,” said Tyreese Blackwell, a junior sociology and social work major.

For freshmen Olivia LaCombe and Tevin Williams, it was an opportunity to interact with Martin outside of the formal settings of university programs.

“It really surprised me to see him here,” LaCombe said. “I got to have face-to-face conversation with him.”

“You can just tell that he is a warm-hearted person who cares and wants to get involved,” Williams said.

Resident dining director Carrie Evans has worked in Williams Dining Hall for 11 years and says that Martin is the second chancellor she has seen come to interact with the students and staff in this way.

“The staff was so excited,” she said. “It’s a moment you had to see when they found out he was coming. It was like kids in a candy store who finally got to get that treat they could never have.”

While seeing the chancellor work the different stations was a treat for the employees and the students, Evans said the chancellor’s presence in the space does wonders.

“I wish we could see him like this more. It’s important for him to be here because it shows the students and the employees that he cares,” she said. “He has no idea how he’s blessed the employees at these stations. This may be a little thing to some people but it is a big thing to a lot of people here.”

In the spring, Martin will take on an outdoor job in the Department of Facilities as well as a student and faculty job.