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CCU Atheneum: Chris Adrian with Hicks Dining Hall staff during his stint as Celebrity Chef in January.
Chris Adrian with Hicks Dining Hall staff during his stint as Celebrity Chef in January.

Celebrity Chef program whips up service opportunity for Teal Nation

by Connor Uptegrove
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Through an initiative with CCUFoodCrew and Aramark, faculty and staff members at Coastal Carolina University have a chance to bond with students over a meal.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 21, the Celebrity Chef event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Hicks Dining Hall for students, faculty and staff.

The first event of the semester on Jan. 17 served a recipe from Chris Adrian.

The program began last fall, and since then, Aramark has provided a new recipe for faculty and staff members to serve students twice a month. While future celebrity chefs remain a surprise until the day of the event, this year will include recipes from Maria Menounos, Alex McCoy, Eric Dickerson and Bo Jackson.

“Faculty and staff members are always looking for ways to serve,” said Tarvarus Roussell, Aramark’s marketing manager. “And we are always looking for ways to provide different experiences for our students. Celebrity Chef does just that.”

Debbie Conner, CCU’s vice president for campus life and student engagement, was a participant in the event last semester, when she spent nearly two hours serving students on one of the hot food lines in Hicks.

“Any time faculty and staff have an opportunity to interact with students in their space, like the dining halls, it supports the connection students have to the place we refer to as Teal Nation,” said Conner.

CCU seeks to promote an environment for student success, especially when it comes to campus life and student engagement. Accessibility to the professionals who provide the services for students’ success thrives by implementation of events like the Celebrity Chef program, which previously had participants such as the Vice President for Executive Initiatives Travis Overton, Director of Business Services Sandy Baldridge-Adrian, and Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises Stephen Harrison.

Although students were surprised to see a vice president of the University they attend working as a food server, Conner says that her reason for participating was simple.

“Many students asked me what I was doing there,” said Conner. “I was there to see them!”

As one of the largest voices for student engagement on campus, Conner recognizes that no engagement is too small.

“I believe these small interactions are what supports an environment that signals to our students we are here for them,” she said.

Aramark is responsible for all cooking involved with the event; all that faculty and staff participants must do to take part is serve the food and enjoy the company of Coastal Carolina University students.

“We are a dynamic living and learning community,” said Conner. “The connections that we can make with students in various ways and in various spaces only support our goal to engage them where they are and to increase their pride in this institution.”

For more information on how to participate, contact Roussell at Faculty and staff can dine at Hicks for lunch for $6.25 at the door.


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