According to my estimations, the University of Richmond was the landing pad for more than 18 inches of snow during the past week and a half. Which of course covered at least five or six miles of roads, paths and sidewalks, much of which quickly turned icy as the temperatures dropped.
In addition to the travel-impairing weather, about 2,600 campus dwellers were cooped up and hungry, two weekends in a row. Fortunately, the university staff pulled through for us in spectacular style.
The past month's epidemic of wintry weather has highlighted the dedication of our university employees, many of whom worked overtime to keep our feet in solid contact with the brick paths and our stomachs full.
Many D-Hall employees cheerily spent the night at the university and said that taking care of students was their top priority. Some facilities workers were even excited for the overtime, and I once walked past a singing quartet chipping away the ice outside Freeman Hall.
"This is a time when we have to be here for our students," a D-Hall manager said during the Jan. 30-31 snowstorm. "I hope the efforts made today show how much we really care. We have a great team."
Well, I noticed, and I'm betting you did too if you stop to remember. Here are three ways to show the staff that's consistently here for us that we appreciate them.
No. 1 - Be patient when you're waiting.
Every Richmond student waits in line on occasion - in the Pier, at D-Hall, 8:15 at Boatwright, the bookstore, the library, the post office, the restroom, etc. - and every university employee probably works an eight-hour shift. Having worked retail jobs and eight-hour shifts, I can say from experience that nothing improves efficiency like patience and kindness.
Those of you who think you just can't spare one second on your way to your next important activity, keep your impatience to yourself. There's no need to stand extra close to the person in front of you, and there's no need to shift your weight back and forth in an effort to distract yourself from the passing time. Frankly, your fidgeting just makes us all think you've got to use the toilet.
No. 2 - Make an effort to get to know the staff.
A friend of mine who graduated last May joined me for breakfast on Monday during her visit for the Ring Dance/Super Bowl festivities. The woman serving us at the Pier remembered her, asked what she was up to now and gave her some advice.
Every few weeks I get a big hug from another of the Pier employees - she goes to my church. Last year, the worker who cleaned my bathroom watched part of Obama's inauguration with me. I've gotten to know her a little and she waves to me from all the way at the other end of the hall. Hi Louda!
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Richmond students often complain about the campus bubble. Well, here's a way to start broadening your circle. If you want a community here that will extend beyond your four years, or if you're hoping for relationships that exist beyond class and the Saturday night social scene, then all you need is the motivation to get to know the staff.
They've proven time and again through hugs and D-Hall sleepovers that they're invested in us, so let's return the favor.
No. 3 - Don't start food fights in D-Hall unless you plan to clean afterward.
I don't claim to have never tossed a cooked carrot or a morsel of Powerade-soaked grilled cheese at a deserving friend, but inciting a full-on food fight that requires D-Hall employees to work an extra 90 minutes is just plain inconsiderate.
Next time, use your conscience before you begin lobbing mashed potatoes, or bring your mop for the clean-up.
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