Students show appreciation for Rutgers workers
Students are usually polite when boarding or exiting a bus, swiping into a dining hall or getting an event prepared at the local student center. Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops are hoping to extend and emphasize this courtesy during the week of Nov. 25 for “Worker Appreciation Week.”
The event runs from today until Wednesday, said Jose Sanchez, a member of RUSAS.
“It’s going to be an event to honor the campus employees: janitorial workers, clerical workers, sanitation workers, bus drivers and transportation workers,” said Sanchez, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
This week is scheduled to include tabling events on most campuses in New Brunswick, where students can participate in crafts and express their gratitude for the University workers, he said.
“We’ll be giving [the workers] coffee and talking to them as well,” he said. “We want to make them feel good before Thanksgiving, which is a holiday all about gratitude, so it’s fitting.”
RUSAS has celebrated this event since the organization was established 17 years ago. The tabling events next week are not a part of a campaign, but are a part of a community building effort, said Anna Barcy, northeast regional organizer for USAS.
“It always helps to have a strong community of people sharing ideas,” said Barcy, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “The point is to build up unity between students and staff.”
This week also allows students to get to know the workers and form bonds with them. This helps get students to stand in solidarity with workers when it comes to issues like working out contracts, she said.
RUSAS also takes this week to get to know the student body, and tries to raise awareness about the organization by integrating it into the week.
“This is a great opportunity to reach out to other students to talk about RUSAS. This event recognizes what the workers do,” she said. “We also want to know what it is like [for some] to be a student and a worker on campus.”
Barcy said the organization is looking forward to making new connections throughout the week with students and inviting them to become a part of the organization.
The week is a nice way of being thanked for doing her job, said Ebru Kilic, an information desk worker at the Rutgers Student Center.
“It feels good to be appreciated,” said Kilic, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “It is great to get something more than just a paycheck.”
Kilic said receiving thanks from the University staff and students makes the job more meaningful.
The week is a nice way of being appreciated, said Ruby Dubose, who works at the welcome desk in Brower Commons and has worked for the University for more than 20 years.
Dubose, a courtesy worker for Brower, said students always come in and say “thank you, have a nice day.”
“I enjoy meeting the kids and seeing them come in everyday,” she said.
While she may not take a part in the events throughout the week, Dubose said the idea is still great, and she is happy that students are thinking of the workers.
Sanchez said he is really looking forward to thanking the University workers and feels the student body should come out and show the workers are appreciated, especially with the holiday weekend fast approaching.
“We want people to come out and be gracious toward the people who keep this university functioning on a daily basis,” he said. “They are really not thanked enough.”
While this week is meant to inspire students to take time out to say “thank you” to the University workers, RUSAS hopes that students will think of this in the long term. They hope students will use this week as a way of continuing this gratitude.
“Just be more cognizant of the rights and conditions of workers, not only at the University, but at universities and real places across the country and around the world,” Sanchez said. “We want more people to be gracious of people on the lower rungs of the ladder. They hold the system intact from the bottom up.”