As students striving hard to advance ourselves here at Georgetown, we are often so caught up in our own lives that we are blind to the lives of others – even those lives tied up most closely with our own. The finest example: Georgetown workers.

There are days when getting up, catching breakfast and rushing to ICC through the snow and cold, just to make another 8:50 lecture, seems to be as much as one can handle. But the workers should never be forgotten. They arrived long before the sun rose to prepare our breakfast. They cleared and salted the walks to make traversing campus easier and safer. Overnight they took out the trash, swept the floors, and cleaned the boards so that we might again be given the opportunities of a world-class education. Still, all too often, that work is overlooked.

Overlooking the toil of workers on campus is a shame, whenever it occurs. Firstly, because much of the fulfillment in doing their work comes from the gratitude of those they serve – in this case us. (It is obviously not the wage that makes such work appealing.) But secondly, and I believe more importantly, we must be aware of this work, which we will most likely never perform ourselves. When we are declared “educated” and sent off into the world to sit behind desks and bring home salaries many times those of Georgetown’s workers, we must understand that we did not make it there alone. And wherever we end up, there will most likely still be those workers who offer us their services.

Of course no Georgetown student would truly overlook the workers on campus. We value them, right? I sincerely believe that, for the most part, we do, but I can also understand how it might not seem that way from the workers’ point of view. How often do we expect them to deal with nothing more than our own sloppiness? Is it sometimes just too much effort to flush the toilet? Is it simply irresistible to throw food in the cafeteria? Is it inescapable that we trash our dorms Saturday night? (And if doing so really is unavoidable Saturday night, could we take care of it Sunday morning?) We are not always careless, but from a worker’s standpoint, there is always evidence of our carelessness. Eliminating those last instances would wonderfully convey our respect for the efforts of Georgetown workers.

We must, however, not stop at merely appreciating the work done on campus. We must also learn to appreciate the workers. While we most often do offer them a quick smile and the customary “what’s up,” seldom do we take the time to truly talk with them. If only we did, I believe we would meet many, previously unrealized, intelligent and humorous women and men of the Georgetown community. And getting to know these workers is not a task. Nor is it a favor. It should bring mutual joy.

Through the work of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee (GSC), Hoya Outreach Programs and Education (HOPE) and other groups, some Georgetown students more actively express their appreciation for workers on campus. Every Friday these students gather at the front gates at dawn to offer a simple (but rapidly improving) breakfast to Georgetown’s workers. All those interested are cordially invited to help us students do our best to serve.

We students must open our eyes to the work done for us everyday. Once we recognize those efforts of workers on campus, appreciating them and their work is inevitable. Then, all we need to do is convey that appreciation to Georgetown’s workers. Even when they do not have the time to start up a true conversation or come by for coffee and cake, they are sure to give you a smile.

Anders Fremstad is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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