People Who Need People

One of the things I love most about working at the same institution where I completed my undergraduate studies, is running into people I worked with, as well as people I really respect and care for. Today we had a Division of Student Affairs program and I ran into the custodians who used to work in the residence hall where I used to be an RA at. This group of individuals was very important to me when I was a student. We always used to chat in the mornings on my way to class, and they had always had an encouraging word and friendly demeanor towards me.

Brent, Henderson, and Carmen work in different areas of Noehren Hall on campus. Henderson is the head custodian of the building. Ever since the first day I met him, he treated me like one of his daughters. As a student I was a Dance Minor, and taught dance classes at the local elementary school for an after-school program called Young People’s Dance Theater. Brent’s daughter was one of my students. We realized this when he showed up to the end-of-the semester dance recital and told me that his daughter was having a lot of fun in the class. Carmen and I recently ran into each other and she shared a fond memory of me. I had broken my umbrella during a rainstorm. She remembers my walking into the building saying how the wind was going to knock me over, and that when she asked why, I said “because I had small feet”.

Now that I work as a university employee, we have seen each other every now and then (maybe not as often as I’d like to). They still invite me to visit Noehren Hall. They enjoy hearing what I am up to these days and catch up. Most importantly, they encourage me to continue my dreams and to work hard. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met during my college experience. They may not be considered Student Affairs professionals, but they interact with students on a daily basis and get to witness the hardships, the joys, and the growth students make.

Custodians, secretaries, food service employees, etc…all have a role in the life of the student. I work at a small enough campus where these individuals know students by name. It’s what makes my institution such a great place (”Where everybody knows your name”…anybody like Cheers?) Today, Henderson and I were talking about how sad we get when students leave for the summer. He mentioned how he gets attached to the students, and what a joy it is to help out during Move-In Weekend. I thought it was funny because I always tell the students my favorite Student Affairs holiday is the first day of school.

With a big hug, we all parted ways to continue about our day once the program was over. I left thinking about all the other folks I have worked with who make an impact in students’ lives every day. I thought of how many times I’ve said “thank you” to these individuals and realized I don’t say it enough. So the next time you run into the custodian for your building, or are working with the secretary on budget sheets, say “Thank You” for all they do to help students succeed and for making our institutions a great place to work at.

And as the song goes “…people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world…” :-)

Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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