Appreciating the “Commons” Experience

Paresky Commons is run by a staff of about 80 people, many of which have been at Andover for over 20 years.

Laughter erupted from an appreciative crowd as Nestor Payan, a Paresky Commons worker who participated in the commons appreciation event, gave a performance impersonating various Paresky workers.

This Wednesday, Alianza Latina, a club on campus that unites the Latinx community, hosted the Paresky Commons appreciation day to celebrate Paresky workers on campus. Even though not all Paresky workers are Latinx, a majority are, and Alianza Latina felt it was appropriate to host the event. The event consisted of snacks, drinks, and games which then decided who would receive gifts prepared by the club.

Emily Ortiz ’19, a board member of the Alianza Latina, said, “Alianza Latina is a group where anyone can come and learn about Latinx culture, Latinx identity, and issues that affect the community… [Paresky] Commons appreciation is an annual thing hosted by Alianza Latina in celebration of our workers here on campus. Not all our workers are of Latinx descent, but since a majority are, we thought it was appropriate to host this [event].”

The Paresky Commons appreciation event is an annual occasion, and Alianza Latina takes charge in organizing the event. Last week, Alianza Latina had a bake sale in order to gather fund to buy gifts for the Paresky workers. They focused on creating a break during the middle of the day, so that the Paresky workers can relax and have fun.

Erin Vasquez ’19, also a board member of Alianza Latina, said, “We do this every year, and last year we had an Abbot Grant fund, so we had lot more money to plan [the event]. But this year, we had to fundraise our own money, so basically we got bunch of presents and small snacks and stuff. We’ll just hang out with them and have fun by playing Spanish version of Bingo, or maybe a Karaoke. We basically plan to create a break on Wednesday, so that they have some time to relax and have fun.”

According to Vasquez, Alianza Latina felt the need to host this event in response to the Paresky workers’ tireless effort to support Andover students. Also, the club believes some students do not seem to recognize their hard work, and this event will help to spread more awareness of what Paresky workers are doing for the Andover community.

Alianza Latina hopes to increase recognition and appreciation toward the hard work of Paresky Commons Staff.

“We started the [Paresky] Commons appreciation event because [Paresky] Commons workers do so much for us. They make our meals everyday, if they weren’t there, we wouldn’t be eating. I think we sometimes forget, [and] not recognize their hard work,” said Vasquez.

Some students addressed that Paresky workers are often underappreciated and are taken for granted. Araba Aidoo ’20, an audience of the Paresky Commons appreciation event, said, “I feel that holding this event was important because [Paresky] Commons workers are very underappreciated for everything that they do for us.. They feed us 24/7 so I feel we should be appreciating them everyday but to have a day especially for them is really important to show them that we really do notice they’ve done for us and all.”

Payan, the winner of this year’s Lotería, a Spanish version of bingo, said, “Of course, of course, [I am definitely happy] did you see my face? That is what I like, I like to see the people smile. I make a joke, [and] everyone [smiles], that is what I like, what I do… I hope [looking forward to next year’s potential appreciation event], I’ll be prepared. I am an actor.”

Alianza Latina looks forward to see more recognition and appreciation of the Paresky workers’ hard work. They also hope the community to begin helping Paresky workers by doing little things that can help reduce the work pressure.

“Even if students don’t participate in this event, I think there are some small things that we should do to make their lives more easier like put our plates away, if you make a mess, clean it up,” said Vasquez.