Skip to body

Human Resources

The Power of Students. The Power of Community.


Two national stories caught my attention this week, both involving the power of students to support change. One at Georgetown and one at Harvard…

Fall leaves fall clip art autumn clip art leaves clip art clipart 7        According to an article in the Washington Post, a Georgetown student, Febin Bellamy, would sit down to study about the same time the janitor, Oneil Batchelor, started his night shift. The janitor and the student occupied the same space but were separated by space, position, role. It took them a while to connect…“A nod one night. A hello the next. And within weeks Batchelor and…Bellamy were having long talks about being immigrants, about wanting to be entrepreneurs, about politics and history, and music. Bellamy even went to Batchelor’s church and met his 6-year-old daughter.” To make a long story short, “Bellamy had a brainstorm. What if he found a way to introduce the workers to the students? And that idea went from a class project in April to a fundraiser making real change today.” He started a Facebook page called Unsung Heroes where he began posting profiles about workers around campus. Stories got shared.

        Batchelor, it turns out, is a gifted cook. Students raised $2500, found catering jobs for him; Oneil’s Famous Jerk became a webpage and a business. There’s a video associated with the story. It shows Batchelor cooking jerk chicken and students flocking to get some. The Power of Students. The Power of Community.

        The second story is about a dining workers strike at Harvard. The university and the union reached a tentative agreement on Tuesday. The union announced the agreement “accomplished all of our goals.” According to the Harvard Crimson, more than 500 students participated in a walk out and sit in. “At one point during the night, students and strikers joined hands and marched in a circle, singing “We Shall Overcome.” I don’t know the specifics of the union’s demands, the university’s position, or what led to the strike. I imagine the union members, regardless, felt very good about the support from the student body.

The Power of Students. The Power of Community.

        These stories, for me, illustrate the reason I love working at a higher ed institution and probably most specifically at Central Washington University. The influx of students each fall provide all of us with a vibrancy, a newness, a conscience, if you will, about what is possible. They show up all bright and shiny, full of optimism; you can’t help but be infected by it. CWU is my home; people at work, including students, are my neighborhood. We support each other through thick and thin. We argue, we disagree, we sometimes lose our cool. We also celebrate and support each other. Have an ill family member? We bring the casserole. Car break down? We give you a ride to work. Your kid’s name in the paper? We bring you a copy. This week, these two stories, made me reflect about how lucky I am to have students as part of my life. I hope you feel the same.

On another note, Bill Bowen died this week. He was described by the Chronicle of Higher Education, as an “influential Higher-Ed Thinker and President of Princeton and Mellon.” (He became president of Princeton at the age of 38!) I love his books. The first one I read was The Shape of the River about affirmative action in college admissions. I read The Game of Life, about athletics in academe. I plan to read his memoir, Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President. He made ideas accessible. I felt like I knew him. He will be missed.


Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.