College kids can find some crazy ways to pass the time late at night in the dorms, especially with use of the hallways and staircases: sling-shooting apples and oranges 100 miles per hour down the hallways into some unlucky victim’s door, dropping cartons of milk and cans of vegetable soup down 12 floors to watch its impact on the concrete in the stairways, playing football in the hallways and taking out a few ceiling tiles along the way; water balloon, shaving cream and mustard fights; and opening up a hallway hair salon and shaving seven people’s heads, leaving mounds of hair scattered all around the floor.
We have seen it all, and most of it is just plain selfish.
It’s extremely easy to come to college on your parents’ money, drive the sports car your dad bought you, pop up your polo collar all day long and not consider the workers on this campus who get paid less for a living than you do for sitting behind the Wellness Center info desk twice a week. Yes, it’s UNICCO’s job to clean up for you, but it’s not their job to clean up after you. We take for granted that while we are sleeping away our hangovers till 2 p.m., someone is on his or her hands and knees cleaning up the mess we selflessly made the night before.
Students’ inconsiderate treatment of the maintenance workers shows a lack of respect for the numerous, indispensable jobs the UNICCO staff do day after day, all around campus.
Sometimes it seems as if students who should (and do) know better keep quiet and go along with their peers’ disrespectful actions out of groupthink and peer pressure.
Granted, most student organizations have members stay for clean up after their events, so it’s not these groups that are as guilty as the individual who are apparently used to their maid at home cleaning up after them. Whether it is in the dorms or leaving trash on the tables in the UC Patio, we have all been the culprits of this, though some more so than others.
Some UNICCO workers have been organizing to form a union in an effort to raise their wages and work standards. As they rally for the University’s and the students’ support, and regardless of whether one agrees with their cause, it’s a perfect time to reflect on their immense impact on campus and, unfortunately, on the ill treatment many students give them in return.
The next time we’re standing in line thinking that we shouldn’t have to wait two minutes for a sandwich or stir-fry, we should think about the person behind the counter who has to deal with rude, impatient and unappreciative students all day, but who always manages to smile and talk to us if we make the effort.
When we’re done with that cigarette butt and don’t feel like walking the three feet to the nearest trash receptacle, we should think about the UNICCO worker who has to pick it off the ground to keep our pristine grounds in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed.
Most of us go to UM to improve ourselves, but instead of judging each other on what job we get or how much money we make when we graduate, a truer measure of people is how they treat others, regardless of education, income or the type of work they do.