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Fellowship and Food - The Keystone of Satellite Cohesion

By Eddy Ball
March 2009

On the second floor, employees enjoyed a "greener" fare of veggies and dip to buffer the starches and salt.
On the second floor, employees enjoyed a "greener" fare of veggies and dip to buffer the starches and salt. DERT's Heather Henry, right foreground, prepared a bagel while EHP's Arnold Greenwell picked up cheese and crackers as OM's Chris Long watched. (Photo by Eddy Ball)

The sweets were a hit at Keystone's Meet and Greet, and it didn't take long for the trays on the third floor to empty.
The sweets were a hit at Keystone's Meet and Greet, and it didn't take long for the trays on the third floor to empty. DERT's Kim Gray, above, seemed to ponder the price she paid for her procrastination as she looked over what was left. (Photo by Eddy Ball)

Cafeteria employee Lakisha Register, right foreground, was on hand with colleague Julius Enoch, in white, and manager Liz Cartano, right background, to answer questions about the menu.
Cafeteria employee Lakisha Register, right foreground, was on hand with colleague Julius Enoch, in white, and manager Liz Cartano, right background, to answer questions about the menu. The samples included salad items, wraps, quiches, fruits and vegetables that Keystoners can now purchase on-site. (Photo 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.

Combine free food and good publicity, and the outcome was a crowded hallway full of smiling, hungry staffers eager to see what their future would hold.
Combine free food and good publicity, and the outcome was a crowded hallway full of smiling, hungry staffers eager to see what their future would hold. Within minutes of Crawford's reminder, the first floor was transformed from an empty corridor to a long line of people talking and laughing as they waited. (Photo by Eddy Ball)



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