As you crest the top step in the Falcon Center and look into the third floor Dining Hall, the first person you are likely to see is 24-year Dining Services veteran Carolyn Straight. With her blond hair and bright smile, she serves students during breakfast, lunch, and dinner and knows most everyone by name.
“When I first came to Fairmont State in 1986, I worked in the Nickel (student union) which at that time was still located in the Turley Center,” Straight explains. Since then, she has worked in several buildings across campus, but her mission has stayed the same--to treat students with respect and love.
“The students are great,” Straight says. “From the first student at breakfast to the last student at dinner, they make my job so enjoyable.”
John Kellar, resident district manager for Aladdin at Fairmont State, agrees that Straight has contributed greatly to the success and good reputation of Dining Services. “Carolyn is intelligent, accurate and thorough in the performance of her duties, but her role as cashier is much more than swiping cards and handling cash transactions. She is an ambassador of goodwill, interacting with the students meal by meal - not simply on occasion.”
Straight’s student-focused attitude doesn’t stop at the Dining Hall register. “She becomes the ‘Away-from-home Mom’ for many students and has done so for many years. She listens, cares about and thoroughly enjoys being a part of the students’ lives,” Kellar says.
Straight develops a special bond with Fairmont’s student-athletes, due to their unique schedules and additional time on campus. From their first day on campus, she works to learn their name, their sport and anything else about them that she can. She then attends as many athletic events as possible to cheer on the students she loves so much.
“I love cheering on our Falcons on and off our fields, courts, tracks and pools,” Straight says. “These kids are more than athletes and students; they are some of the nicest people I know.”
Like every good mom, Straight has to sometimes be the Dining Hall enforcer. “It is Carolyn's job to make sure everyone follows the rules, and she does not hesitate to confront violations,” Kellar says. The tough love earns respect from students who never stop saying “good morning,” “how are you today” or “have a great weekend” when they pass Carolyn.
Aladdin Food Services prides itself on providing first-rate service to all customers.
“Carolyn epitomizes the way we want our service personnel and all employees to treat our customers. A caring attitude seems to come naturally to Carolyn, and we are very lucky to have several employees whom students have exalted similarly,” Kellar says.
With more than 24 years of service to Fairmont State, Straight has seen the campus, students and traditions change, but her bright personality and welcoming spirit are unwavering. “I do it for the students, they are my first priority,” Carolyn says.
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