Before winter break, Westhampton College students donated money toward holiday gifts for their custodial staff, and this year they raised the most money ever, said Sarah Everette, Westhampton College area coordinator.
The Westhampton Residence Life staff received $1,400 in donations from students, $200 more than last year. The money was used to purchase $100 Wal-Mart gift cards for each of the 12 custodians in Westhampton College residence halls, Everette said. “With the remaining $200, we purchased holiday-themed goodies that were divided evenly among the custodial staff and put in gift bags,” she said.
To collect donations, area coordinators gave resident assistants envelopes to slip under their students’ doors with a message asking them to thank their custodial staff for all the hard work they had done, said Carlyn Covington, a Westhampton resident assistant in Freeman Hall. “It was completely voluntary,” she said.
Covington had been surprised by the number of envelopes her residents had returned to her, she said.
“A lot of people stopped by immediately that day and brought me stuff, but then it trickled in even after it was already due,” she said. Covington said her residents had contributed about $30 total.
The custodian for Covington’s hall, Lioudmila “Louda” Nazarouk, went above and beyond for the residents by airing out bath mats, taking out the trash when she didn’t need to and folding laundry left in the machines overnight, Covington said. “She’s a really great lady, and every time she’s out in the hallway, she’ll ask you how your morning is going.”
Everette said she thought it had made the custodial staff happy to know that the residents contributed to the gifts. “Our residents and custodial staff form relationships over the school year because they see each other in the halls every day, and the staff really come to care about how the residents are doing in their daily lives and vice versa,” she said. “I think it’s nice to be able to have a tangible reminder that you are appreciated by the people in the community where you work.”
Although Everette said that the Westhampton College Residence Life staff had been asking for holiday gift donations for custodians for at least three years now, Patrick Benner, associate dean of residence life for Richmond College, said that his staff no longer asked for donations. The practice was stopped a few years ago, he said, as the university moved to a gift donation process through human resources. Some students still gave personal gifts, he said.
Contact staff writer Avery Shackelford at firstname.lastname@example.org