Housing, Dining Services adjust to new semester


Thalia Rouley

Tatymia Walton, a freshman pre-nursing major, talks with her friend Khadijha Mitchell, a freshman undecided major, eat dinner together in the Thomas Dining Hall Sunday night.

Jesse Wilson-Brown, Staff Reporter

The housing and dining staff of Eastern have been working to ensure that everyone’s current campus experience, whether they be newcomers or returning students, exceeds expectations.      Mark Hudson, the director of University Housing and Dining Services, describes himself as the “campus landlord.”

Hudson currently oversees 150 full-time staff including those in resident life and building services, as well as some 500 student workers.    

With his crew in tow, Hudson was able to cover a lot of ground over the summer.

Thomas and Taylor Hall have new patio and entry areas, rooms were painted and carpet was cleaned or replaced entirely in certain areas.

“We spent a lot of time working in environments to make sure they’re ready for students,” Hudson said.

He said the semester is off to a good start for the staff at Housing and Dining with no major issues to report, just normal settling-in processes across the board.

“Some students have challenges, but we work with them,” Hudson said.

Mark said he encourages all students to get engaged with their community during this coming school year, and he suggested going to programs and getting in touch with resident assistants as good first steps.

The dining staff also had a great first week, according to Christopher Wojtysiak, who is the unit director of Thomas Dining Hall.

Like Hudson, Wojtysiak’s staff is a mix of full-time and student workers, and he will continue to hire more student staffers as the semester progresses.

Wojtysiak is not daunted by the influx of students this school year and, in fact, said he welcomes them with open arms.

“No, it’s really great. It helps to have more students; more students mean the more we can provide,” Wojtysiak said.

Variety is key to getting the most out of the dining hall experience, and Wojtysiak said he believes it is up to the student to break out of their comfort zone.

“It can get a little stagnant eating here,” Wojtysiak said. “Students need to ask themselves, ‘What else can I make for myself?’ It helps to think outside of the box.”

Closer to the center of campus, Sandra Black directs students and staff alike at the University Food Court, with 3 supervisors, 10 full timers and 75 student staff members under her supervision.

The University Food Court has unique dining options available, such as Charleston Market and Panther Grill.

Black also implements different food specials throughout the week and polls students on what they would like to see in the food court.

Black utilizes student interactions for improvement and said that she firmly believes her job is “first and foremost customer service.”

She encourages all students to fill out comment cards concerning their dining experience, whether that be online or in person.

Black said she believes the new semester is kicking off quite nicely so far.

Her only gripe, she said, is the shortage of student workers and that, as of late, has been “a challenge to get student workers established with their responsibilities.”

Those interested in seeking a job at the University Food Court, or other dining halls, need only fill out an online application to be considered.

Jesse Wilson-Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].