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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

FM appreciation week encourages year-round awareness

Every day as we gleefully enter our cozy residence halls, beautiful academic buildings and well-kept facilities, we are taking something for granted. How is it that, with all the student traffic, accidents and normal wear and tear, our campus remains so clean and well-kept? Students often fail to recognize the presence of a dedicated group of people working nearly round-the-clock to keep Grinnell in tip top shape: Grinnell’s Facilities Management (FM) staff. Often under-appreciated and overlooked, FM personnel make the lives of Grinnellians infinitely easier. FM Appreciation Week is the chance to recognize and express gratitude to all of the hardworking FM staff here at Grinnell. The event starts Nov. 14 and lasts until Nov. 19.

Sam Offenberg ’14, SGA Student Services Coordinator and organizer of FM Appreciation Week, discussed the importance of the week and of showing gratitude to FM staff members.

“I think a general principle for any situation you’re in—office, living—anyone that is there to … help clean up is someone that you should really show your appreciation for. I think that Grinnell students … can tend to be incredibly busy,” Offenberg said. “They don’t necessarily always have the time to give a ‘thank you’ to their FM person in the dorm when they see them. This is just kind of an opportunity to do that and let them know that we appreciate all the hard work they do.”

Offenberg has organized a few events to help show student gratitude to FM staff. Offenberg provided a home-cooked breakfast for FM staff as they clocked in early Thursday and Friday morning. He also purchased and circulated cards to student staff for students to sign and give to their FM. It is a small way to recognize FM personnel for all of their hard work.

However, another goal of the week is for students to keep FM in mind for the entire year, not just one week.

Offenberg offered a few ideas for the future to hopefully enlighten students to the amount and difficulty of the work FM personnel perform year-round.

“[We could continue FM Appreciation by] doing something along [the] lines of getting every student, once, early on, to … talk to an FM person or to help out one day, just so that they can see all the work that they do. I think that could go a long way,” Offenberg said. “I think it’s something that [Student Advisors] could stress throughout the year, as well. It’s something that I think they do stress throughout the year, but it’s one thing that you could always reinforce.”

Too often students take FM for granted by not making the effort to clean up after parties or pick up small messes because they know the mess will be gone even if they do not clean it up. There have been past instances where FM workers have had to clean up urine and feces in dorms after parties that took place over the weekend.

The Committee on Student Life has addressed this issue in past meetings and hopes to discourage this type of behavior in the future. Offenberg believes one way to do this is by encouraging students to build relationships with FM—to really get to know them.

Offenberg also sees FM Appreciation Week as a chance to meet some interesting and exciting people.

“I know of one [FM staff member] who served in the US Army in the special forces at the initial invasion of Afghanistan. He was one of the first US troops. [There are] some really cool things that you would never expect, and some of them have some great stories,” he said.

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