Sunday, February 25, 2024

Behind the Scenes of Back to School

By Adrianne Joan Agustin | August 25, 2023

It has been an exciting time for students of Silliman University as the school celebrated its opening week. The university was  abuzz with back-to-school festivities. Xs on the calendar were marked, the Hibalag booths were set up, and the class schedules were approved—for the most part. We did all we could to brace ourselves for another year of campus life, but there is a group of people we haven’t considered in all this commotion. 

The Silliman University staff—these individuals help maintain the dreamy, erudite atmosphere of the campus through their service. The faculty, janitors, sweepers, cafeteria staff, and vendors alike: all these custodians function behind the scenes, and it’s time we heard their piece. What do they have to say about the upcoming academic year and their experience as the proud staff of the school?

Keeping the Campus Green 

A pleasant stroll around campus is a scene set by the maintenance staff. Their shears cut through the awkward overgrowth on the shrubs and plants that haven’t been trimmed since the end of summer. They see to it that the grounds are free from rubbish and that the grass is ever so green. This seemingly minuscule routine of theirs helps create that picture-perfect look of the campus that graces the snaps and reels from all our different social media accounts. 

Apart from the aesthetics, maintenance staff also look out for the accessibility and comfort of the campus, making sure all the hygiene facilities, air conditioning, and other amenities are in working order for the upcoming school year. 

Kuya Rico Quimpao, a member of the maintenance staff, says that the work he does is something he takes pleasure in because he gets to admire the beautification of his assigned area. 

He also feels most appreciated when students notice these changes and cheer him on as he works or make a conscious effort not to stuff their trash within the foliage of the bushes and shrubs—although he comments this does happen once in a while. He shares that the sincerity and respect shown by the people to the staff shatters their presumption of themselves as mere workers. 

Ma-inspire kaayo mi na naay ni approach namo, nitagad namo na bisag trabahante lang jud mi,” he explained. (We get inspired every time someone approaches us, gives us attention even though we’re just workers here.)

Home-cooked Away From Home

Being a student entails a great need for your body to keep up with one’s hectic schedule. Lucky for us Sillimanians, food and drinks are accessible through kiosks and eateries within the campus. They offer hot-cooked meals, quick bites, refreshments, and even the essential iced coffee. These spots are manned by the food and catering staff, affectionately known as Ninings. 

Ate Valerie Turtal from the Ninings near the current Senior High School building had a lot of factors to consider when deciding on the menu for this upcoming academic year. They acknowledge personal recommendations from students about what food they’d like to have available so that we always get servings of our favorites. She lets the students take their food in disposable containers like cups and trays because of her trust in them to dispose of these in the proper bins all over the campus. 

Neither does she forget about the small, passing comments of students about how they like their cooking, how affordable their prices are, and how nice and understanding the staff are. 

Daghan nag-appreciate kay tungod barato ra daw, dayong duol ra pud kay sa uban kuno layo [ug] mahal,” she said. (A lot [of students] appreciate [the food at Ninings] because it’s cheap, and it’s near compared to other food stalls that are distant and pricey.)

A little goes a long way: it’s the principle for these words of gratitude that we can offer to our working staff at Silliman University. It is essential that we keep the sense of community on campus alive. So for this school year, the next time you come across a staff member repairing a broken door knob, raking up the leaves from the grass, or preparing a meal, take the opportunity to brighten their day with a compliment or by realizing your part in keeping our beloved campus the picture of perfection. 

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