Students say ‘Thanks!’

Campus Safety director Mike Webster and officer Misty Brown enjoy donuts and thank you cards delivered to them by Nicole Hill (right) and Leigh Brownell during McDaniel Staff Appreciation Week, April 21-25.
April 25, 2014

A weeklong thank-you filled with cards, banner and treats for McDaniel staff was conceived by first-year student Nicole Hill after she noticed the trash she spotted outside Whiteford Hall on her way to 6 a.m. soccer practice had magically disappeared upon her return.

Assuming the maintenance worker she saw nearby had picked it up, "I promptly thanked him," says Hill of Bowie, Md. She also told him, in response to his surprise, that everyone deserves some gratitude, especially those who do so much for the campus community.

Guided by a Bible passage that basically says, "Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them," Hill took her idea to the Rotaract Club of McDaniel, a Rotary program of leadership and service for young adults, and the Rotaract Appreciation Program was born.

During McDaniel Staff Appreciation Week, held April 21-25, Campus Safety officers and staff gobbled donuts while Hill and sophomore Leigh Brownell of Newton, Pa., tacked several dozen thank-you cards to the bulletin board. Hoover Library became party central when the students showed up with cake and balloons. And Sodexo's food service staff grinned their own expressions of thanks as students cleaned the tables in Glar dining hall.

Hill and sophomore Roger Isom of Annapolis, Md., co-partnered the project with the help of six other Rotaract members: junior Loreen Dube, an Africa University exchange student from Zimbabwe; sophomores Leigh Brownell, Sophie White of York, Pa., and Natia Jackson of Brooklyn, N.Y., and first-year students Maya Pickens of Frederick, Md., and Elena Skovorodnikova of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Each student organized thank-you’s for individual departments including Physical Plant/Grounds Maintenance, Residence Life, Sodexo food service, administrative assistants, librarians and IT staff and Campus Safety department.

Students say ‘Thanks!’

The group staged spots for students to write their own thank-yous and to sign the banner that hangs in Ensor Lounge. Appreciation flowed through pen and marker to the many McDaniel staff members – from IT to residence life staffs, administrative assistants to maintenance staff.

“Although I have to admit there was a lot of hard work and dedication required to execute these plans, it was all worth it the moment that I saw the staff’s faces light up in appreciation,” says Hill. “The amount of student participation was absolutely amazing! In just two days, our large ‘Unsung Heroes’ banner was full of signatures and we ran out of cards to be signed.

“My call to action is to not let the appreciation stop here. This is a seed to develop a better culture of appreciation for the people who are dedicated to keeping McDaniel the remarkable place that it is.”