The Workers’ Advocacy Group (WAG) held a reception luncheon for outsourced workers on campus Nov. 20 the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Break. Currently the College outsources dining services to Sodexo, custodial services to Aramark, and security services to Allied Barton.
Preparation started at 8:30 a.m., when members of WAG brought coffee, muffins, and fruit for Dining Hall workers. The preparation ended with the delivery of sandwich platters around 2:30 p.m.
The reception would not have been possible without its generous sponsors. The Office of Finance and Administration, led by David Proulx, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, offered assistance to the group. Several group members also went to the student government meetings in the five houses, gaining support from the Bonchek, Brooks, Weis, and New College Houses.
Even with the money raised the group encountered other problems.
“Not all workers are working at the same time, so we were probably not able to reach everyone,” said Nancy O’Brien Presnick ’14, vice president of WAG.
Nevertheless, the group managed to contact the companies and came up with a plan that included a breakfast for dining hall workers and lunch for both Aramark and Allied Barton workers. In addition to logistical challenges, the group also underestimated the number of custodial workers who would be on campus that day.
“I got a call when I arrived home from Mr. Proulx’s saying that the food was short,” said Eun Kyeong Jeong (Grace) ’15, president of WAG. “Mr. Proulx was gracious enough to order more food for the custodial staff.”
Both Jeong and Presnick agreed students really should do something to show their appreciation to the workers who support F&M yearlong.
“Especially with Hurricane Sandy we found out just how much we needed [these workers],” Presnick said. “We can cancel classes if need be and much of the faculty can stay home, but the Dining Hall has to stay open and the Sodexo staff braved the storm to come serve us.”
Alexandra Kranidis ’13, consul of New College House, and the whole New College House Senate agreed with WAG.
“It was unanimous that we give the money [to host this event],” Kranidis said. “I think a lot of times we take those workers for granted and they deserve to be recognized more often.”
The reception was not the first the group arranged. They arranged such an event last semester because they felt holding a reception just for faculty and professional staff was not enough.
“The faculty and professional staff were getting thanked in many different ways throughout the year, but the actual workers who help sustain our campus were not being thanked in any way,” Jeong said.
Proulx and the Office of Finance and Administration, with help from Kent Trachte, dean of the College, funded the event last semester. According to Presnick, Trachte has been providing assistance and support since the group’s beginning and deserves recognition.
WAG plans to have a similar reception next semester. The organization hopes events such as these can be held once a semester or at the very least once a year.
“I just can’t stress enough how important it is to thank the dining, custodial, and security workers,” Presnick said. “This campus could not function without them and a simple thank you is the least we can do.”
Questions? Email Shunqi at firstname.lastname@example.org.