We were all waiting – waiting besides our parents, and standing next to the people with whom we would spend the next four years. As we stood awaiting President Hennessey’s welcoming address, we were hoping perhaps for a glimpse into how we could make Stanford University our home, and for hints as to the identities of the people with whom we would create that.
And President Hennessey’s remarks, as well as those of the faculty and students that addressed us at the Convocation Ceremony, did not disappoint. The President encouraged us to look to our peers and to engage with faculty, in order to squeeze all that we could from our time here. The first bricks in the foundation of many of our college experience were perhaps laid that afternoon. After convocation, we knew at least a few places in which to look for home here at Stanford.
The members of my class, and of all the classes of this University, created, and continue creating their home, their Stanford. Our paths are guided, encouraged, and helped by the people whom President Hennessey mentioned at our Convocation. However, there are people on this campus that are integral to our journey, and whom we as students, and as a university, do not recognize nearly enough: the workers. Those people who support us tirelessly by cooking our food and cleaning our dorms and the people whom we never see, because they work through the night to clean our classrooms and care for our gardens. They, in an enormous capacity, help us to find ourselves and to find our home on this campus.
Home is the place where there is always someone who greets you with a smile. It is where someone cares about how your day has been, regardless of how his or hers has. At home, there are people who inspire happiness in you, and in whom you inspire the same. In our friends and in our mentors, many of us students have undoubtedly found these things. But we have also found them in the workers we interact with. They are the first ones who smile and inquire after our well-being when we show up in the dining hall early, looking horrible, with our eyes half closed and our hair in knots after a sleepless night. They are the almost forgotten friends who stay up all night – working – like we do. They are the ones who make our dorms spaces in which we can cultivate our deepest friendships and make some of our best memories. The workers here are the friends we didn’t have to look for, the support we never have to question, and part of the family that we are trying to find.
Stanford’s workers are always there for us. Always. So lets thank them for the work that they do, and for the care that they show. Thank them, as we are always sure to thank our friends and our mentors, because the place that Stanford is, and the people we hope to become, are not possible without them. Let’s give back at least a little bit of what they give to us – let’s say thank you, Stanford.
ASSU Staff Appreciation Committee
The ASSU Staff Appreciation Committee can be contacted through Miriam Natvig at mnatvig ‘at’ stanford.edu.