Staff Spotlight: Carolina Union Director Crystal king

As Director of the Carolina Union for the past four years, Crystal King has been dedicated to making this space "more than a building" and into a place many call home. She brings passion, motivation and thoughtfulness into her work to serve the Carolina community.

What first brought you to the Carolina Union?

For me, it was the opportunity to help advance a building so steeped in history and tradition – so that’s what I was really excited about doing.

What does your job entail?

I’m the head experience provider here in the Union, so making sure that our students are having – maximizing their experience while they’re here at Carolina. I think strategically about how to help the Board of Directors position this building for future success and future generations of Tar Heels. I like to champion my staff, so being like the main cheerleader for my staff and all of the incredible things they are doing every day. Also just being there for our students in whatever mode or method they need me to be there for. I do a lot of strategic planning, facilities management, leadership development.

What Union project or event are you proud of being a part of?

By far, it has to be the Union Feasibility Study. Our student Board of Directors has just really advanced the Union by selflessly focusing on what the future needs of Tar Heels will be. That I feel like is my single greatest accomplishment – being able to help students through that process and working with the facilities department on campus and being the liaison between that department and the students and Vines Architecture, who’s the student-selected firm.

What is your favorite part about your job?

It's the students, I think that’s the favorite part of most people’s jobs here. It's the future – being able to live in the present and helping to influence and impact the future. One of the things I love about my job is the fact that it’s a very selfless job. I can put my love and care for students in every ounce of this building, and they might not ever know who I am.

"If we could have more of a selfless approach to the work that we do, I think we could propel ourselves into the future so much faster. I really believe in giving people opportunities and hearing from people and learning from experiences."

What is your favorite Tar Heel memory/memory from working here?

I guess my favorite memory would be – it’s a little bit more abstract – but it’s just the transformation I feel like our Union has had. Everywhere from our staff in each department, how they've transformed themselves in trailblazing new paths and being fearless in their approach to advancing our society – the same is true of our student Board of Directors. I really believe they’ve transformed themselves. They’re very busy leaders from all across campus with very specific focuses for their respective organizations, but they've come together and created this healthy community and selfless approach to supporting all Tar Heels through what the Union does. That’s my favorite memory. It's incredible to be able to be in a space and a time where something that important happens and you can be a part of it. It’s interesting that I’ve been able to see it on the student side and staff side.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t working?

I have two little ones and a husband. I’m either helping create some cool STEM project with my son, who is eight, or playing video games with him. Or I'm busting out dance moves with my 5-year-old daughter or taking her to gymnastics. I also love the spa, that’s my personal favorite thing to do when I have the time and the means is to just still away at a nice spa and just enjoy the art of being.

Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t have guessed.

I learned how to drive an 18-wheeler when I was 16. My dad was an over-the-road truck driver, so he taught me how to drive an 18-wheeler. I probably couldn’t drive one today, but that’s probably something you don’t know about me.

Recommend a music album and a movie for us.

My favorite movie of all time is The NeverEnding Story. It has so much adventure, excitement, fantasy and creativity – that’s what I like about it.

Created By
Christine Bang

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