By Daniel Callicott
A new face greets students while they eat in the Student Dining Hall. Tony Meek, the new Aramark food service director of the Student Dining Hall, has initiated many changes in how food is served to the Union community.
The energetic director has ushered a new attitude into the dining hall. Many students said they think the change is for the better.
Meek explained many of the fresh ideas he formulated for Union were based on his experiences at the University of Southern Mississippi where he worked at a larger-scale Aramark location.
Meek discussed his goals for the Student Dining Hall, saying he wants to keep food quality at a high level.
“Food freshness is the key,” Meek said. “As much as we can cook fresh, that is what I want us to do.”
The creation of a stir-fry line was the most noticed addition to the dining hall. Meek said he is also looking into adding a pasta station.
Meek said he wants to improve the service quality. A large part of the changes to the atmosphere is his willingness to listen.
Meek takes time to visit with students directly while strolling around the dining hall. Students said they are pleased with the changes.
Matthew Pinckard, junior philosophy major, said he was impressed with the way Meek handles himself.
“It’s been phenomenal to see the intentionality Tony has brought in seeking out students and seeing what works for us,” Pinckard said.
Evangeline Webb, junior nursing major, said she talked with Meek over January term and any concerns were addressed immediately.
“Tony is really cheerful and outgoing, and he really cares about the students. It reflects in his work,” Webb said.
Meek was born in Iowa, and grew up on a multi-purpose farm until the sixth grade. After moving to Missouri, Meek attended Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. He has been married for nearly five years.
Both Meek and his wife enjoy baseball and root for the St. Louis Cardinals. With a smile, Meek said it is great to be an easy driving distance from St. Louis so they can see their team play.
They own five dogs and four cats. Golfing and fishing are Meek’s favorite hobbies.
In the end, Meek said God was behind his move to Jackson. He also said he was grateful for the new connections he is making in Jackson.
“I want to thank the students and faculty for being well-mannered and thankful of our effort. We appreciate their support,” Meek said.