Staff needs to go from neglected to respected

Guilford, like all colleges across the globe, is run by a plethora of contributors. A Guilford education involves guidance and assistance from teachers, coaches and faculty, but the list does not stop there. Living on Guilford’s campus also involves services less acknowledged or even unseen by students.

Unfortunately, some of these people who dedicate hours of their day to benefiting our community are underappreciated and disrespected. A particularly prevalent example is the housekeeping staff. As a first-year resident of Bryan Hall, I was aware that employees came at some point during the week to clean my suite bathrooms. What was less apparent to me was the intense hours and labor that these people invest in keeping our community spaces well-kept.

After walking back from my First Year Seminar course one Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to speak with two ladies who work in housekeeping. In response to my question asking if they came to campus once a week to clean, the first woman laughed and informed me that she cleans bathrooms and common lounges every day of the week, Monday through Friday, from 4:30 in the morning until 12:30 in the afternoon.

This information was shocking to me. I had no idea that these people were coming to clean my bathroom in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. What’s even worse is that I learned that students have been making the jobs of these housekeepers, who are up all hours of the night, even more difficult. People have been disposing of their personal trash in the shared kitchen, adding one more thing onto the already loaded plate of responsibilities that housekeepers contend with while also clouding our communal living space in the process.

Members of the dining hall staff had a much more positive perspective on their workplace environment. However, the numerous jobs completed by these employees still go largely unnoticed. In order to prepare everything needed for breakfast each day, some employees arrive at the dining hall as early as 5:30 in the morning. Those that work dinner also have to stay until 9:00 in the evening to clean up and close down. In addition to making and serving the food, people who work in the dining hall are likewise responsible for washing numerous stacks of dishes, creating checklists to assure that the necessary food for each day is set and prepared, checking ingredients and putting out ingredient notices, as well as printing menus to display at the caf entrance every day.

Both of these jobs are integral to life here at Guilford, and both require a tremendous amount of work from the people who complete them. Because of this, it is important that Guilford students remember to show their appreciation to these employees, and to everyone that contributes to the college.

Want to appreciate your campus employees but not sure how to go about it? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Always say thank you. Two little words can go a long way in making someone feel like they are acknowledged and respected for the job they do.

Make conversation. Particularly in the dining hall. Introducing yourself and getting to know staff names in return can be a great way to establish friendly relationships and show your recognition.

Do your part to help keep things clean. Instead of leaving your trash around for the housekeepers to pick up, take it out to the dumpster yourself. Also make sure to eat neatly in the dining hall and bring your dishes to the proper washing area.

Write notes for the staff. This would be a particularly sweet thing for the housekeepers, who often clean at times when students aren’t awake. Just a quick post-it on your bathroom mirror communicating your thanks could make someone’s day.

Get informed. The best way to appreciate the work performed around you is to first be aware of its existence. Find out about the jobs that campus service workers complete so that you truly know the extent they contribute to our community.