One On One With: Determination and a sense of adventure guides dining director through
ups and downs of college dining in 2020
Van Sullivan, executive director, Faculty Student Association at Stony Brook University,
reflects on this challenging year, his past experiences at UMass and his fond food
memories of one of the world’s most diverse neighborhoods, Queens, N.Y.
On this episode of One On One With, we catch up with Van Sullivan, executive director,
Faculty Student Association at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. Sullivan
and the CulinArt dining team have been making it work this year, and we talk a bit
about what operations have been like for the school and also the hospital associated
with it. Since Sullivan has had such an interesting career—working at UMass as his
first college foodservice job—we talk about how he got there. And also, Sullivan has
an incredible wealth of knowledge about the different food neighborhoods in Queens,
N.Y., where he lived for years.
Sullivan has found that his sense of adventure prepared him for this year, also his
determination. When it comes to sustainability and doing the work there, he’s firm
that “you’re either in or out.” That means even though the pandemic forced a return
to disposables, he’s kept up with finding better alternatives and is planning for
the future constantly. In terms of tech and communications, Sullivan thinks the pandemic
has streamlined a lot of unnecessary noise.