Environmental Factor, March 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Fellowship and Food - The Keystone of Satellite Cohesion
By Eddy Ball
Food was the centerpiece at two recent events at the new NIEHS satellite offices in the Keystone building. On January 26, organizers from the various divisions represented at Keystone staged a Meet and Greet for staffers. On February 2, Keystoners had an opportunity to attend a Food Fair to sample the NIEHS cafeteria selections now available for lunchtime purchase from special vending machines on the first floor.
Both events were designed to give residents of the new office facility a chance to develop a sense of community in their new environment through the time-honored tradition of breaking bread. Each of the three floors has developed its own identity, but since the building lacks a central commons area, there is little opportunity for busy employees to explore the other floors.
Meet and Greet, sponsored by an ad hoc committee headed by Dona McNeill, stocked snack tables in each of the three break rooms in Keystone. Volunteers on each floor brought in items from the three major food groups - sugars, starches and salt - for employees who gathered to sample and socialize following the director's town meeting in Rodbell Auditorium. Many passed from floor to floor - each with a distinctive lineup of goodies - to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
The Food Fair, organized by Diane Crawford and staffed by cafeteria employees, took place in the first floor break room at Keystone - a venue that proved to be tight quarters for the turnout. Soon after Crawford sent a message reminding Keystoners of the free treats, the line stretched half the length of the hallway, and people with plates overflowing rubbed shoulders as they crowded into the narrow space.