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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Thank you!

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By: Farahnaz Afaq, contributing writer

On Feb. 7, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) sponsored a meeting with Wofford’s physical plant staff over coffee and donuts. That day, while it was pouring rain, Elena Helmers-Wegman, Mary Bradley Cassada, Caroline S. Traini and I drove to the physical plant staff’s coffee break area. Traini highlights that it was really valuable to “get to know all of the people who make our beautiful school function behind the scenes.” Cassada added that the visit was “an opportunity to be more personal than a halfhearted ‘thank you’ as they stop their mowers so we can walk down the sidewalk.”

Thomas Rocks, the director of physical plant, introduced each of the approximately 45 members seated in the classroom-sized coffee area in the Old Main building. He then opened the floor for the students. As president of MSA, I introduced the group and myself and shared a few words of gratitude. The physical plant staff play an important part in the community and their work makes a real difference to our student experience. I hope that our visit showed that students also care and feel responsible for the Wofford community. “I imagine without them, Wofford would not be the same,” said Traini.

Our meeting’s purpose was not only to share a cup of coffee with the physical plant staff, but also to learn their stories, which we rarely do. To let them know that Wofford is home for so many of us because of their hard work and care. To share that this is not only home for students, but also the community to which their hard work and presence is invaluable. To remind ourselves that together through love, humanity and care for each other, we can grow our world to be bigger and better.

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Helmers-Wegman added that, “ it was great to see the physical plant staff, from all different divisions, interacting with one another during their daily break. The camaraderie over a shared purpose and experience was evident. It seemed like they were happy to have visitors on that particular morning, especially since they don’t get much student foot traffic over at the physical plant.”

Rocks said, “we are here to serve and do our best to make students’ lives as comfortable as possible.” He then added that the staff are trained in certain different areas and they make sure to do their work as efficiently as possible. For instance, when the staff blow leaves, it is more efficient for them to wait for students to pass than vice versa.

Meanwhile it is also important for us students, as members of this community, to be conscious of our part. “We all are a part the interconnected web that creates the close-knit Wofford community,” said Cassada. We might not realize it, but with a little help on our part, we can make a big difference to others and the place.

For example, when it is raining and the golf carts are driving behind us on a rainy day, the staff might not be able to see while we are walking on the sidewalks because of the blurred view in their windshield. They are also not allowed to drive through grass, so this is the time where we can help by just stepping aside and letting the golf cart pass.

Before carving something on the chairs and tables, think ahead on how it is going to impact others. Mr. Rocks mentioned that there have been occasions where students had written something on the Daniel building chairs and physical plant staff had to take an entire day to polish them, when they could have used the day to work on another task.

A stable community can be built by the care and love of more than one individual and it is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate it. “ Unfortunately, we tend to not notice this work until it’s gone. I think we are aware that the [physical plant staff] work hard for us, but it’s difficult to know how to be adequately appreciative of their work,” said Cassada.

Just with five minutes of self-reflection, we can conclude that rainy, snowy or stormy days are made sunny for us students and for the Wofford community because of the help and hard work of diverse individual, regardless of department. Acknowledgment and appreciation are what make the Wofford community united and loving. Let’s step in each other’s shoes and learn more about empathy and learn more about our community members. MSA will soon visit with the officers and staff of Campus Safety. Students interested in joining can find details posted in the Daily Announcements.

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