Ellis Sutton is a freshman history major.
Have you ever noticed when you leave the cafeteria, there’s mountains of to-go boxes piled in the compost bin? And as you tried to fit your empty box or waste somewhere in that garbage, have you thought about who cleans it? I know I am usually on my phone as I throw out my trash and go on about my day.
At Georgetown University, a student group called “Unsung Heroes” works to acknowledge campus employees such as janitors, bus drivers, and security guards. These staff members are recognized for their service to the students and community. O’Neil Batchelor, a janitor who immigrated from Jamaica, felt invisible to students. Students began to converse with Batchelor, and learned about his dreams and aspirations. He told them how he has entrepreneur aspirations just like other Georgetown students. He often felt ashamed since the students were close to his age. While they were learning at an exceptional institution, he was the one cleaning it.
The students need Batchelor more than he needs them. Without Batchelor and his colleagues, the students would not have a healthy campus environment.
The USF Facilities Management also work hard vacuuming our dormitory hallways, taking out the trash, cleaning restrooms, showers, and toilets. As a Hayes Healy resident, there can be a disgusting mess in our restrooms, and no student is willing to clean that up. Upon coming into the bathroom in the morning to find someone has cleaned our space, I am relieved that it is cleaner and healthier.
I ask those in the residence halls to imagine how our campus would be without our Facilities Management. We would first notice a waste problem. Our trash area would resemble a landfill that’s unhealthy and nauseating. Once we notice we have trash in our dining area, we would go outside and notice litter all over campus. We also would see our beautiful green grass turn brown and our trees wouldn’t be so neatly cut and trimmed. After walking back to our dormitory to use the restroom, we would notice filthy sinks and unusable toilets. In reality, although we usually clean up after ourselves, our staff does more than we’ll ever be able to do.
Our Facilities Management workers at USF often go unnoticed and ignored due to their job title. Students are so focused on becoming future leaders and contributing to our society, we do not notice those who already do. Our professors work hard in the classroom, and our janitors work just as hard outside the of it. Frankly, their jobs are just as important as our professor’s.
Students at USF need to acknowledge and recognize the Facilities Management staff as real people with lives outside of the University. Even though they are paid to do their work, they go above and beyond their compensation. They have families who they work hard for, and showing thanks for their efforts would be appreciated.
So when you are in the cafeteria or walking around campus and you notice a facility member in a green polo shirt, take the time to say thank you.
Photo Credit: Gabe Greschler