The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: UMW Employees Deserve Recognition for Enthusiasm

2 min read

As much as we love to point our grubby, ink-stained fingers at various campus injustices, we here at the Bullet aren’t above showering praise on deserving culprits of goodwill. Unlike faculty who receive feedback via and administrators who receive feedback via six-figure salaries, other UMW employees often go without recognition of their commendable work. Granted, we don’t have the space to mention every deserving employee here, but there are a few that have stood out to the Bullet.

Greg Render, who has been serving as the Post Office’s Customer Service Associate for almost a year now, is one of the friendliest faces you’re likely to see on Campus Walk. Sporting an easily distinguishable salt-and-pepper five o’clock shadow, Render sorts incoming packages, handles long lines at the Post Office and delivers mail to most of the university, with an enthusiastic affability that’s contagious.

After swiping cards at Seacobeck for eight years, cashier Amber Lashlee has become something of a Mary Washington institution and is more than likely on a first-name basis with at least half of campus. Even after 16 semesters of handling never-ending lunch rushes, Lashlee still makes an effort to get to know students, greeting them with a smile and a refreshingly wry sense of humor.

Doris Jean Barnes, better known among students and fellow employees as “Mama Jean,” is just as much an institution at Seaco, where she’s been whipping up everyone’s favorite home-style pasta for the past three years. However, there’s more to “Mama Jean’s” awesomeness than merely a knack for making mouth-watering meatball rigatoni. As every student in the lengthy line that forms daily at the pasta station could probably tell you, “Mama Jean” really goes the extra mile to interact with students.

Over in the Nest, Cashier Clara Clark has won the affection of many students with a similar enthusiasm. On Friday afternoons last year, Clark was known to ring a bell for no other reason than simply announcing to everyone within audible distance of the Nest that it was, in fact, Friday. A Nest stand-by for the last five years, Clark is one of the most vocally enthusiastic workers on campus, and the savior of many students who, when faced with horrendously long lines at lunch time, have had their wait cut in half by Clark opening up another line.

These outstandingly congenial employees aren’t getting paid any more to give students a smile, much less a few kind words. As we progress through college and our lives become increasingly more selfish and career-driven, there’s an important lesson to be learned here: it doesn’t hurt to smile back.