What We Don’t Pay Attention To Matters
Anyone that is lucky enough to have a connection to Providence College knows how unique this place really is. Whether you are visiting, working, or living in Friartown, everyone has the same experience walking around campus: the feeling of pride in being a Friar. Yet, while people walk around, it is common to take this place for granted. The reality is, the amount of moving parts it takes to make PC run and the effort and energy that goes into them are both immense and criminally underappreciated.
Take Ray for example. Swiping your PC Card at the entrance, putting your backpack down at a clean booth, and heading over to the UCook station to make a meal—so much work goes into just those three actions in the dining hall that is never acknowledged. There is the administrative work of organizing and sorting which students have purchased meal plans that allow you to swipe in, the maintenance of the technology it takes to have these cards operate in just that location on campus, and the effort of staff members like Fran, to oversee the seemingly minuscule task of walking into the dining hall. Then there is finding a seat. If it were not for the dedicated and hardworking Ray staffers that clean up after careless students, our eating space would appear more like a pig pen than a cafeteria at an institute of higher education. The amount of illnesses staffers have prevented by keeping the UCook station clean is likely staggering, for it is hard to find a time of day when there are no egg yolks, bacon bits, and spinach scattered all over the stoves even after they are consistently cleaned. Imagine yourself working very hard to clean your sink full of dirty dishes, and five minutes after finishing up, the sink is full yet again. It is not a stretch to assume you would feel not only frustrated but unappreciated for your efforts that are so essential to maintaining a clean living environment. This is the same for the Ray employees who work long hours maintaining our eating space, yet people will throw it back in their faces by leaving a mess or not recognizing a mess was just cleaned up.
Ray is a great example, but not nearly the only one. Take on-campus housing as another one. When you show up in August for move-in day, your dorm room did not magically become ready for your arrival on its own. The summer work of employees to go through every single room on campus, clean out all of the items left behind by students, and then clean the rooms themselves is immense, especially in dorms that are without air conditioning on a hot July day. That is not even acknowledging the movement of beds, dressers, and desks from one side of campus to another to ensure all residents are accommodated, the repainting of entire dorm buildings, or the task of programming every single lock on dorm doors for the new year. Nobody considers these tasks when they are walking around their halls, yet they are essential tasks for starting a new school year.
More examples: How about the around-the-clock work of public safety officers who, yes, genuinely care about their jobs and are not out to get students in trouble? Or maybe the efforts of activity directors who organize events on campus, such as the senior semi-formal, who watch all of their time and work be unappreciated as students leave the event hours early. While an entire issue of The Cowl could, and should, be dedicated to the immense amount of work it takes to keep the campus running, pointing out the lack of acknowledgement and underappreciation for this work is not to scold our community. Rather, it is to make us more aware, to give well-deserved acknowledgment to hidden efforts that are either rarely seen or considered, and to say thank you to those that work on campus to keep Friartown the unique place it is.