Students wrote thank-you notes in exchange for hot chocolate and other treats at the first Campus Support Staff Appreciation Day on Wednesday.
The Orange Jackets hosted the event, which aimed to fill a niche other appreciation days do not cover, said marketing/business honors junior Erica Brody, who is also the organization’s vice president of special events. The appreciation day targeted workers in custodial and facilities services, Information Technology Services, the UT Police Department and any department that serves an ancillary function at the University.
Brody said the event recognized them because their work often goes unnoticed.
“We sort of take for granted what they do,” she said.
The organization set up tables on Gregory Plaza furnished with cookies, chocolate, candy canes and hot cocoa. Some of the snacks had notes attached to them.
Many employees stopped by to enjoy the food provided by
“It’s really a positive, it feels really great,” said building attendant Mary Villarreal. “It feels like we’re appreciated.”
Throughout the day, students came by to write personal notes of gratitude. They pinned them onto a Christmas tree the group erected near the tables.
“It’s what happens behind the scenes that people don’t really see,” said government sophomore Angelica Flores. “It’s the people who work behind the scenes who don’t really get credit for this stuff.”
Shreeya Popat, a Plan II and premed junior, said Brody came up with the idea after meeting a university worker in one of the dorms who worked at least six days a week to support her family while also studying to get her GED.
Brody said the employee was always enthusiastic about working with the students, and the students should return the favor.
“We’re going to take all the notes off and deliver them to the staff so they can hang them up and put them up on their wall and realize that they are appreciated,” Popat said.
Brody said the organization contacted all of the managers throughout the Division of Housing and Food Service and other facility entities within the University to let employees know about the event.
The group hopes to make it an annual event and to get other student organizations involved.
“We want to work with other student organizations to make it a larger and more far-reaching event,” Brody said.