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One man's beautification of the student union

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

There are certain elements to life that we don't put much thought or appreciation into — we just expect them to be there.

The surfaces that we use to eat off of, bear the weight of our textbooks and simply spend hours leaning on — tables — fill Salisbury University's Guerrieri Student Union, and in GSU's 33 years, the tables have taken a beating.

It was not until the manager of Cool Beans asked carpenter of SU's Physical Plant Randy Lind to restore a table that the beautification of the student union began through one man's initiative to preserve and fix tables while giving each table its own unique design.

Dr. Lawanda Dockins-Mills, associate dean of students and director of Guerrieri Student Union, explained the transformation that Lind was responsible for and emphasized that his work was done not for the reason of economic benefit, but simply out of Lind's generosity and willingness to better the building.

"This terrific guy has turned old and ugly into wonderful with the work he has done," Dockins-Mills said. "I really want the campus community to know that we have this staff person on campus who had the wherewithal to take a look at some old outdated tables that really needed to be, well, my thoughts were, to replace them," Dockins-Mills said.

SU carpenter Randy Lind stands with some of his unique table designs in GSU's Commuter Lounge.

Lind has restored what he estimates to be near 15 tables now, and they were tables that would have been thrown out otherwise.

In the process of restoring the tables, Lind goes about each table differently depending on what it is made of. He likes to preserve the natural beauty of the wood if he can and attempts to save the wooden edges and wooden veneers.

On other tables, he uses tactics ranging from acrylic finishes to resin powders in an effort to make each table unique. Lind's restoration began with the simple task of fixing up a few tables in Cool Beans, but after showing his artistic ability, Lind has been asked to restore as many tables in GSU as he can.

"Every one of them is different," Lind said. "Originally, the first one I just did a checkerboard table."

Lind enjoys doing the restorations and gets more creative with each design as he utilizes different painting methods and different finishes.

"I didn't want to do just a plain refinish, stain and clear tables," Lind said. "So I started doing something that would take notice and things just kind of escalated."

Lind's typical work stems from a carpentry background in which he works on building houses, conducting repairs, doing finishing trim work and working with wood to build various structures.

Lind also likes to get the students involved in the restorations, and SU alumni Crystal Campbell played a role in helping to paint the space-themed table in Cool Beans.

Although tables are often nearly invisible structures that people don't normally pay a lot of attention to, Lind's reconstruction of tables has played a role in beautifying the student union and making it a more welcoming atmosphere for the SU community.

"In a meeting just last week, staff members came out and they saw just one table and they were like 'Wow, we need to have our tables redone like this,' and they had no idea at that point that this was an interim staff member who has done this work," Dockins-Mills said.

SU sophomores Kayla Homeyer and Carrie Hesen are just two of many SU students who prefer Cool Beans to study and lounge due to its laid-back and comforting atmosphere.

SU sophomores Kayla Homeyer and Carrie Hesen studying in Cool Beans at two of Randy Lind's self-restored and hand-designed tables.

"It's just such a nice environment, and I think the tables are really interesting," Hesen said. "I like how none of them are the same."

Lind's tables can be found all throughout GSU including in the commuter lounge, Chick-fil-A, Cool Beans and the upstairs lounge areas.

"I just want the campus community to recognize the level of commitment that this staff member from our physical plant has for the engagement and betterment of students, and the students' environment in the student union," Dockins-Mills said.



Gull Life editor

Featured photos: Caroline Streett images.

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