GATOR CHAMPS: ANTHONY POLLOCK
A face most of us are familiar with is that of Anthony Pollock, the Director of Allegheny Catering, better known to the Gator community as Tony. For all those who have asked for huge catering discounts for their philanthropic events, packed leftovers from the meetings over lunch, or sampled the food at various student organization events, you know you have experienced the magic that Tony conjures. He chuckles and admits that these are some of the most rewarding challenges of his job, but sadly, since most of these major events take place in the spring semester, this school year has left a void.
An absence of students and staff has been a hard change for the members of the Allegheny community, but it has also brought us all together. Especially for the employees still working at the College to keep the wheels turning. Tony said that the Catering management team has grown closer too, allowing for greater idea sharing and brainstorming. The core Dining team has moved to Brooks to work, instead of separate teams operating from the four buildings they typically work out of.
With changes like this has also come a change in responsibilities. There will need to be new ways to practice safety in the dining areas when the fall semester is here; this has been under discussion for a while and ideas are still being brought to the table, so to speak. Talk of a mobile app to pre-order food and take-out has been circulating, but the hunt, for now, is for carry-away packaging. When Tony said, “food is a big part of your day; dining halls are a big part of your day,” I completely agreed. Going to get food in between classes and everything else is a big part of the day, and there should be anticipation and joy when getting your food. That’s why they’re trying to find nice packaging and not just paper bags for quick and wholesome take-aways.
A large safety precaution that has caused a change in body language has been face masks. When I’m talking to people I often rely on their facial expressions. Tony told me a bit about the changes he has picked up on while only being able to see someones eyes.
“I have found it quite fascinating how much we’ve learned to communicate with just our eyes now. From across the room, or across the street, you can almost tell how someone’s day is going, if they want to talk to you or maybe wish to be left alone… just by really paying attention to their eyes… it amazes me! I was so used to reading a persons entire face, and that’s gone when you’re wearing a mask.”
Although this was not the school year any of us anticipated, it will be a memorable one. Tony is one of many staff members excitingly awaiting the return of students in the fall. Ever positive and pragmatic, Tony had this to say to the Allegheny Community, “I truly believe we will come out of this in a better place than we were before COVID. I foresee a stronger sense of ‘community’ and genuine human kindness towards others.” Amen to that, Tony. And thanks for always being there to feed our stomachs and our souls.
~~ Interview by Kylie Rimes (Class of '23)
Take a moment to click on the button on your left and make a gift that will feed a Gator student in need. You'd be surprised at how far even a small contribution goes in making a fellow Gator feel taller and stronger because of your support.