Meredith College is known for its picturesque campus, an arboretum that houses a variety of trees and several gardens, including the Ruby McSwain Magnolia Collection. Students say that some of the things that drew them to Meredith were the beautiful campus, the cleanliness and maintenance of the facilities, and the safe and secure environment that the College provides.
“What I love most about Meredith’s campus is how beautiful it is. I was attracted to all of the trees and flowers,” said Cailyn Clymore, ’18. “The magnolias and the gingko trees are some of my favorites on campus. When the skies are blue and the sun is out, I feel so lucky to not only attend school here, but to live here. I am still blown away by how pretty our campus is.”
Even the surrounding community enjoys Meredith’s luxuries when visitors arrive on campus for various events. But it takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make Meredith the place, on the inside and out, that community members, staff, faculty, alumnae, and students adore so much.
“Many hands make light work,” is a common phrase, but even with the many hands that contribute to the Meredith campus culture, it takes teamwork and dedication to maintain the campus. Among those hands are staff from departments including campus security, dining services, and more – all who impact the day-to-day lives of those who reside, study, and work on campus, as well as those who visit.
Let’s meet the people behind the scenes.
Chief of Police Al White manages a team of 19, including a parking director and four part-time employees, with a mission to provide a safe environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. That mission is accomplished by being proactive and patrolling the campus in an effort to deter and minimize any mischievous behavior or criminal activity.
Campus security responds to every call for service including medical calls, suspicious persons, alarms, criminal activity, and students needing assistance, to name a few.
White’s team takes the safety of the College very seriously and they understand the significant responsibility that they have to keep the community safe in today’s world. They believe that safety and the perception of a safe campus assist in the recruitment, retention, and graduation of students.
Diversity among the team is a true passion for White. Therefore, he focuses on hiring people with diverse backgrounds including women and minorities.
“What I like most about my job is being there for the community and the daily interactions. Showing people that we care about them, not just as a student or employee, but as a person. Any way that we can assist someone and make their day better is what we are here to do.” – Al White, Chief of Police
Karen Jones, food service director, in partnership with Aramark, manages the day-to-day operations of the Meredith College Dining Services Department, which includes Belk Dining Hall, the Bee Hive Café, and Oak Leaf Catering. In her role, she manages 45 full- and part-time employees, including a campus executive chef, a catering chef, and eight cooks.
Dining Services is responsible for prepping and preparing menus for eight stations in the dining hall, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also manage the Bee Hive Café which requires food preparation at the Grille Works and Sandwich Shack. Aside from food preparation duties, the staff is responsible for overseeing the We Proudly Brew Starbucks kiosk in the café and all catering requests and needs of the campus community.
“We’re happy to provide nourishing food to the students, faculty, and staff every day. We are a proud partner of Meredith College,” said Jones.
Dining Services significantly impacts the Meredith campus culture.
“I love what food can do for people. It brings us together in the best of times and the worst of times, but it always brings us together.” – Karen Jones, Food Service Director
Facilities Services has a mission to provide a safe, attractive, clean, and functional campus that supports the work of all students, staff, and faculty. Managed by Sharon Campbell, director of facilities services, and her
administration team, the department works in partnership with Aramark to ensure that the College offers a healthy environment for all who step foot on campus.
Each team member has a specific role, but their work crosses boundaries, impacts other internal departments, and plays a role in the College as a whole.
As the administrators of the department, these individuals manage the day-to-day and long-term operations of the department, provide project and construction management, oversee energy and sustainability efforts, are responsible for managing the budget, and manage procurement services that support all functions of the department.
Facilities services is made up of three areas: custodial services, grounds, and maintenance.
“My greatest satisfaction comes from leaving a facility in better condition through regular maintenance, project work, and improvements that have a lasting impact on those who use the facilities, and working with a strong team that has a ‘can do’ attitude, expertise, and great energy.” − Sharon Campbell, Director of Facilities Services
Manager Tony Riddick has overseen the custodial services department for the past six years, which consists of 24 staff members (23 full-time and one part-time).
With a mission to protect the investment of the institution by ensuring elements like dust, dirt, and water are not allowed to prematurely degrade the integrity of the campus surfaces, Riddick’s team spends a total of 188 hours per day maintaining all surfaces such as wood, metal, stone, vinyl, and glass. They are responsible for the floors, walls, furnishings, windows, carpets, walkways, and lights.
Custodial services is also responsible for keeping germs to a minimum through cleaning and infection control methods, while also applying pest control. On average, the team cleans, disinfects, and maintains 750,000 to 800,000 cleanable square feet per day.
“What I enjoy most about my job is the interaction with students and staff, and being able to assist in their well-being at their second home, and in doing so, attract others within the community to use our facilities. We are ambassadors and in a lot of cases, the first in line to meet the public.” − Tony Riddick, Custodial Services Manager
Grounds Manager Aaron Schettler oversees the Meredith grounds crew, a group of eight full-time staff members who work from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Much like my staff, I enjoy the culmination of the spring season with the wonderful convergence of Commencement and Class Day with flowering magnolias, the Meredith Hues Iris, and the classic campus daisies,” said Schettler.
With a desire to preserve and promote a healthy campus environment, the grounds crew takes care of all routine grounds maintenance across campus, including athletic fields, turf grass areas, gardens, and various outdoor campus venues. They are also responsible for all mowing and maintenance requirements.
Much of the mowing maintenance and soil management strategies focus on optimizing soil health, which is key to healthy plants, healthy people, and healthy communities.
Students, faculty, staff, and visitors enjoy using Meredith’s beautiful outdoor spaces.
“It’s great to see everything come together at such a momentous time of year, and to see the Meredith community enjoy and appreciate the great beauty of campus.” – Aaron Schettler, Grounds Manager
Maintenance Manager Jeffrey Stell oversees a maintenance team comprising 11 full-time employees who work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with one employee on call each week for after-hours requests.
The goal of the maintenance team is to provide reliable service, repair, and preventive maintenance to the equipment serving the Meredith community. With that goal in mind, Stell’s team maintains all of the equipment on campus including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, locksmith, finishes, ceilings, floors, walls, life safety equipment, aesthetics, and indoor and outdoor lighting.
In an effort to support the College, the maintenance team implements and oversees the completion of both small and large improvement projects. To complete those tasks, each maintenance tech is equipped with different sized screw drivers, ratchets, sockets, pry bars, hammers, and manhole cover lifters. They also have access to a plethora of power tools, hand tools, saws, grinders, and pumps.
“I love being a part of the facilities maintenance team. This group is phenomenal. I continue to be impressed with their level of ability and commitment to serving the Meredith community. I am very proud of what we are able to accomplish every day.” – Jeffrey Stell, Maintenance Manager