Facilities Management appreciated at student-organized event

Working under Macalester College Student Government’s External Relations Committee, students hosted the first-ever Facilities Management appreciation day on Thursday morning. MCSG Vice President Brian Stephenson, who spearheaded the event, said approximately 40 facilities management workers and 15 students schmoozed over a Continental breakfast and cups of coffee while the Sirens serenaded the crowd with a 15-minute set.

Stephenson said he came up with the idea of having a Facilities Management appreciation day when he realized that there are events to honor staff, but not the custodians, carpenters, security officers and electricians on campus.

“I thought that should change,” Stephenson said.

“It was a break for the day,” he continued. “People got to mingle and thank them and generally talk with the people that keep Mac running.”

The reception is one of the more public aspects of the day, but Stephenson said that he and other students have helped distribute thank you cards around different departments and dorms, and that they have also ordered ceramic coffee mugs, “so the facilities folks that wouldn’t be able to come would still have a thank you card and we can show our appreciation,” Stephenson explained.

Legislative Body representative Ben Pierson ’08 is a member of the External Relations Committee, which generally serves as the “publicity arm of MCSG,” he said. The most important part of the event, he said, was the focus on the student participation behind it.

“We wanted it to be something student initiated, to show our appreciation for everything the facilities folks do behind the scenes,” he said. “Students have not historically been really active showing their appreciation for people who do the dirty work.”

Pierson said that the event organizers received a lot of positive feedback, but that the issue at hand isn’t the students themselves.

“It wasn’t the point to say ‘look what we did, this is such a great event,’ but it was really to say thank you. They really appreciated being appreciated.”

Pierson’s involvement with the event has a personal level, as his work-study job as a carpenter is through Facilities Management. He said that while the workers have never “grumbled about a lack of appreciation” the event was long overdue.

“I think they were sort of surprised to see students with the initiative to put that together,” he said. “But I heard comments, like ‘I have been working here for 20 years and nothing like this has happened before.'”

Stephenson plans to study abroad next semester, but said he hopes to make this event an annual one.