Take a little time to thank university staff

This column breaks every rule in the book, but to adequately accomplish the purpose of this column, I find it impossible to avoid speaking directly to you, the student reader, in the first person. At risk of engendering the wrath of the editors at The Crimson White, I submit this challenge to everyone who is fortunate enough to call themselves a student at The University of Alabama: by the end of the week, thank a member of the University’s staff for helping make this school so awesome.

It’s easy to lose sight of the everyday work that goes into maintaining a rapidly expanding university. The growth of our university has, after all, captured headlines for years now, and rightfully so. But the year-to-year growth would be meaningless if the University failed to meet the day-to-day challenges of accommodating over 36,000 humans on fewer than 1,000 acres of land. We are blessed daily by the efforts of dedicated University employees who simply get the job done, and there are plenty of jobs on campus that need doing.

Consider the scope of university operations required to keep the campus running smoothly. Without an army of around-the-clock RAs, the residential communities would quickly descend into anarchy. Without a hyper-dedicated squad of parking officials, the $540 reserved lots would be flooded by cars with $75 tags. And without the quick hands of the grill masters at Fresh Food the buffet line would extend out the door and wrap around the Shelby Quad twice.

Every day, throughout the day, buses are driven, trash is disposed of, floors are buffed, grass is mowed, ACT cards are swiped and every student experiences higher education in extraordinary comfort. In this way, the university employees whose efforts sustain the ebb and flow of campus are instrumental in each student’s academic success.

Therefore, it is only appropriate that we, at a minimum, acknowledge the employees who make it possible. I’m not suggesting that you drop a tip on a table or fill out a thank you card. Rather, I’m challenging you to make a personal expression of your thanks. Learn a name, and maybe shake a hand – how you choose to express your gratefulness is up to you. But never underestimate the power of eye contact, a smile and a quick “thank you.”

Of course, if enough people take this challenge seriously, things could get out of hand. Gratitude is contagious. And peer pressure has a tendency to shape social norms. In fact, I would venture to say that our campus would change for the better if this attitude of gratitude took root and permeated throughout the sidewalks, hallways and dining halls across campus. Celebrating our great school begins with appreciation for the people who make it great.

Cruise Hall is a senior majoring in mechanical 
engineering. His column runs biweekly.

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