The Westmont custodial staff are crtical to the smooth functioning of the campus as their hard work and dedication keep classes and dorms clean and organized. Hearing their stories has the potential to provide insight on their experiences.
For some of the custodians, coming to Westmont was completely unexpected. One anonymous staff member shared one such experience: “I had never heard of Westmont College, and didn’t know where it was located. Now here I am, with over ten years working for Westmont.”
Other staff members have come from out of the country. Coming from the Philippines, Rodelio Callos has the unique experience of working in the custodial field in two different countries. “I used to work in the Custodial Department in a church in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. I got hired to work for Westmont in March 23, 1992, six years after leaving the Philippines. I’ve been here ever since.”
Working in this branch of staff comes with many rigorous tasks, an anonymous custodian claims, disclosing that “our summers are too hard to deal with: moving furniture, cleaning the rooms once the students leave and preparing them for when they’re back.” Being understaffed does not help with the situation either. “We used to be 18 custodians, but now we are down to 15, and the campus keeps growing each time,” they stated.
Despite the difficulties of their jobs, many members of the custodial staff have found their own reason for enjoying what they do. Callos notes that he appreciates when “faculty, staff, and students compliment what I do.” The anonymous staff member agrees with Callos, stating that “mostly everyone is kindly to you. It makes your day go faster, and I enjoy what I do.” According to both sources, acknowledgement and appreciation of their hard work makes a significant impact.
Various members of staff attest that there are some improvements to be made from faculty and students. Callos request that “students, please don’t mix up the trash with recycling.” He explained that by not taking the time to do this, students create more work for the custodians, causing them to have to sort through the trash themselves.
The anonymous staff member agrees that students need to be more careful with their trash. “What frustrates me is when you walk into a restroom or lounge and you find a mess all over. Also, when students don’t throw their trash away and leave it outside the hallways with cardboard boxes too.” The custodians share that when students are messy, they are the ones that “have to pick up after the students as if we were their parents. It creates more work for us.”
Working as a community to support and assist such an important part of campus can potentially make a great impact. In the words of the anonymous custodial staff member, “Give us the respect that we deserve around campus. Give us credit for all the hard work we do around campus because our job is one of the hardest of all departments.”