Annenberg Fixture John Martin Builds Community Among Freshmen

Annenberg ID Checking
John S. Martin, an ID checker in Annenberg, swipes a student’s ID card during dinner on Tuesday night. Martin first worked at Leverett House and has worked at Annenberg for the past six years.

It’s lunchtime at Annenberg, and a mass exodus of Economics 10 students streaming out of Sanders Theatre has swarmed the doors to the freshman dining hall. The line stretches beyond the doors to the sidewalk outside. Despite the grumbles from the back of the line, freshmen cheer up by the time they enter the dining hall and a friendly, boisterous voice greets them.

“Hey David. Hey Shankar. Hey Josh. Hey Daniel,” says John S. Martin, an ID checker in Annenberg.

The string of students respond with the same phrase, “Thanks, John!”

Students have handed their IDs to Martin for six years. He jokes with them, playfully swiping their ID cards and engaging in small talk. Martin, or simply “John” to the hundreds of freshman he sees everyday, has become somewhat of a celebrity for students at Harvard. He said the most important part of his job is connecting with students and making freshmen feel comfortable during their first year at the College.



Martin usually spends his day in Annenberg swiping students in, as well as performing other tasks which include occasionally chasing tourists out. But the part of the job he likes most is interacting with the hundreds of freshmen that eat in Annenberg everyday.

“My favorite part about the job actually is getting to know students,” he said. “That’s most exciting for me.”

John from Annenberg
John S. Martin, Massachusetts native, has worked as an ID checker in Annenberg for the past six years.

Above all, Martin says his goal is to make students feel comfortable in the dining hall through personal efforts such as memorizing students’ names. Davis Lazowski ’19 said he appreciated Martin’s efforts.

“I feel like all of the swiping staff, as a group, are some of the warmest people on campus, and John is especially so,” he said. “It’s amazing how he memorizes my name when there are [hundreds] of freshmen.”

Martin also said that he uses ID card tricks to entertain students.

“It’s something different to make everybody laugh and to make people feel comfortable,” he said. “You guys are coming from exams and stuff.”

The atmosphere in Annenberg that Martin creates has earned him praise from students and co-workers alike.

“He makes the students feel special and takes away the monotony of lining up for food everyday,” said Marina Wang ’19.


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