Lopez: Colorado State University staff deserves our gratitude

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(Photo courtesy of Colorado State University Housing & Dining Services)

Dominique Lopez, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

After returning to campus and making my way through my first days back, I couldn’t help but think about the many members of Colorado State University’s staff who work so hard to ensure our safety, happiness and pride at our beautiful school.

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These individuals are such an integral part of our campus, and yet they are sometimes overlooked. How often are these staff members truly thanked by the very students they support?

Gratitude is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the state of being grateful.” It is the state of truly thanking and appreciating all those whom you interact with throughout the day for all they do, no matter how small.

We may all have an abundant amount of gratitude for this community, but how often do we walk up to these people and say, “Thank you,” hold open the door for them or even just offer a smile?

The CSU community is one filled with people who truly hold gratitude within their hearts; however, perhaps we do not express this gratitude enough. Kindness and gratitude are necessary to developing a welcoming community in which we all support one another and appreciate our differences and contributions.

“This community does so much for us, so why are we so hesitant to reach out to them, to say hello or to thank them for all they do? This may be the support staff members’ job, but they all do it for the benefit of the students and for the love they have for the CSU community.”

“Students tend to show more appreciation for the staff depending on what is going on in their day or even their week,” said Nancy Hernandez Avalos, a chef for The Foundry dining hall in Corbett Hall.

We all have those moments when the day is just a bit too much or when so many mini catastrophes have happened that it seems like there is no way it could get better.

These seem to be the moments when gratitude needs to be shown the most. Hernandez said that during finals week or a week when staff has been informed students will be more stressed than usual, “(the staff) always (tries) to talk to the students who seem as though they are willing to talk. (They) ask them how their day is going (or) how their finals are going” as a way of trying to ease their stress.

This situation is just the beginning of the interactions CSU students have with dining hall staff. Hernandez explained that many of her interactions with students include students saying, “Thank you” or asking about the ingredients in the meal. It is rare that staff will have a full conversation with the students.

Listening outside my door to students’ interactions with staff members or even while sitting in the dining hall, I noticed that many students see staff members of CSU as just that: staff members — people who are supposed to cater to the CSU community without ever having to be thanked or appreciated for all they do.

In my limited experience, when the Environmental Health Services staff comes into students’ dorms to clean their bathrooms or vacuum the hallway, students tend to just open the door or stay out of their way rather than interacting with them or at the very least greeting them.

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This community does so much for us, so why are we so hesitant to reach out to them, to say hello or to thank them for all they do? This work may be staff members’ jobs, but they all do it for the benefit of the students and for the love they have for the CSU community.

While these individuals often work behind the scenes, they are still people who deserve respect. In fact, each person deserves respect, and small moments of kindness can change a person’s day.

I hope this article serves as a reminder to everyone that when we encounter others, they could have a lot going on that we don’t realize, especially right now, in a time of so much pain and loss. It is so important to be kind to let them know that someone cares.

So from the gratitude in my heart to the CSU community: Thank you for caring for this wonderful community that so many of us call home.

Reach Dominique Lopez at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @caffeinateddee6.