Editor’s Note — This is part of a Women’s History Month series featuring women who make a positive impact on the campus community through their work as office/service employees. The Women of Service series is organized by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Stories will run in Nebraska Today through March 30.
Nebraska’s Jolene Meyer connections to agriculture and the land run deep — and it shows in her success managing the grounds within the heart of East Campus.
An area leader for Landscape Services, Meyer has worked 16 years on campus — six in the 1980s plus a second run after returning in 2012. In her current role, Meyer guides landscaping in the center of the university’s East Campus, an area that has seen a large amount of construction and change in recent years.
“Jolene was hired as the area three leader when the area was halfway through a renovation,” said Jeff Culbertson, director of landscape services, waste management and recycling. “Her leadership has greatly improved the appearance of this important part of our campus.”
She takes a team approach to succeed, working seamlessly with her assistant, Craig Potter. A motivator by example, Meyer seeks new technology to improve efficiency, is well organized and starts each day thinking about what her team can do to make campus a better place for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Meyer also makes sure co-workers feel appreciated, remembering birthdays and special events — often with cake. She also helps colleagues with problems and has mentored many student employees, helping them navigate the university and work.
“This spring, I invite you to come to the Dairy Store for an ice cream cone and walk around, enjoying the landscape that Jolene maintains,” Culbertson said.
The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women reached out to get to know Meyer and learn more about her dedication to students, faculty and staff at Nebraska U. Her interview follows.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an area leader on East Campus for Landscape Services. I am a lifelong Nebraskan, who grew up on the farm my great grandfather homesteaded. My ties to agriculture and the land run deep. I live in Lincoln with my husband of 30 years. I’ve worked a total of 16 years on campus. I was here 6 years in the 1980s, left and returned to landscape in 2012.
What do you look forward to when you come to work?
I enjoy tackling challenges that come up with the help of my wonderful team. I like to problem solve, looking for ways to do the job smarter, which will in turn make campus a safer more welcoming place to be.
What is your favorite memory at the university?
When the pandemic hit, students and all staff that could work from home left, leaving a handful of essential workers to take care of campus. I saw that in the middle of all the uncertainty, isolation, and fear that the pandemic brought, my campus became a place of community. It was a place dog walkers, whole families (including working dads and moms who were now free to join in), and friends wanting to meet while socially distancing, all gathered. Everyone was so happy to be together and be safe. I was grateful to be a part of that.
What is your life like outside of work?
I fill my time away from work, reading, cooking, decorating my home, flower gardening, and shopping for the best bargains. A perfect weekend would include quality time with friends and a couple quiet evenings with my husband and my cats.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
If I could do anything or be anything I would be a fashion designer.