Last semester, when snowstorm season was in full force, students took shelter in their residence halls and in other campus venues made accessible only through the tireless work of campus services. The snow-clearing crews, Sodexo, facilities and other services did not take shelter, working through the hard times. It took until July for the last of the snow piles to finally clear out of Boston, but the determination of campus services to get their jobs done has not faltered. However, many of the campus services do work that goes, for the most part, unacknowledged.
On a daily basis, facilities services survey the residence halls and campus buildings making sure that everything is tidy and in its place, supplies are restocked and problems are dealt with. If there’s a light out, facilities fixes it. The Brandeis campus has so many buildings in need of daily maintenance, and the work done is nothing less than superb. Nonetheless, it goes relatively unnoticed.
Behind the scenes at Usdan and Sherman, many Sodexo employees work tirelessly to prepare the food we eat. At the counters, some workers bring out the food or even prepare it to order, on the spot. Others serve to students. Still, the same dilemma occurs. It takes a huge amount of teamwork to keep two large dining halls and countless food service outlets running at full capacity, and we the students are a component to the team. The least we can do is show our gratitude.
On the other side of Usdan you will find the mailroom and copy center, services provided by Xerox that tend to be misrepresented. When we use the mailroom, for example, we hand our IDs to a worker, they retrieve our package, we sign and we’re on our way. What we fail to consider is the time and effort that was taken to organize the packages in such a way that they would be easy to retrieve when we come for them. The same can be said for the time and effort taken to sort through all of the smaller pieces of mail and get them into the mailboxes in a timely manner. Yet many students still fail to display the gratitude that the workers deserve.
A common theme surfaces when considering the lack of gratitude expressed to campus services workers: We students take for granted the breadth of the operations we utilize on a daily basis.
Upon encountering a facilities worker in a residence hall or in an academic complex, we take notice of the task they are doing right then and there rather than the entire operation as a whole. While that one particular worker may be doing a singular task, countless others are doing other tasks, cleaning and responding to our work orders. Facilities services do the same work consistently, day in and day out, 365 days a year, without much notice.
The same theme applies to Sodexo and Xerox workers: Students do not consider the work it takes to run the huge operations we use every day. We do not consider the workers in the kitchens of Usdan and Sherman, nor do we consider the workers organizing packages and mail in the mailroom.
To put it harshly, we are ignorant of the behind-the-scenes work that occurs for our campus services. We are able to get what we want in terms of work order fulfillment, packages, food, etc., with relative ease; it is far more difficult to provide us with these services. The problem is that we tend to look past the part of the service that does not involve us and thereby do not acknowledge the work in the way that we should.
We need to try to make an active attempt to show gratitude for the labor the workers do, because a simple expression of gratitude can really help to make their days better and increase their morale. After all, a little respect can go a long way.