A colorful table was set up in Paresky Commons this past week, scattered with an array of colorful of notecards and pens. Staffed by members of Alianza Latina, a student affinity group for members of the Latinx community, the table has been collecting notes of appreciation from students to give to the workers at Paresky for their annual Commons Appreciation Day.
“I think it’s… just important to connect with them, because these are people that come in when there’s a literal snowstorm outside,” said Cindy Espinosa ’18, Co-President of Alianza Latina.
Claire Brady ’20 wrote multiple notes for Commons Appreciation during her lunch period.
“I wrote a few notes thanking the [Paresky] commons workers for the work they do, because it’s really hard to see all the work that goes behind making our food, and then cleaning up after us, and often, we get into a rhythm of taking that for granted, myself included. I think this is a great opportunity to stop and think for a second, and really appreciate all the work that’s being put in for us,” said Brady.
Some students who wrote notes were included in a video expressing their thanks on camera. The video also includes interviews from Paresky Commons workers. This video will be shown at this year’s Commons Appreciation Day, a day on which the Andover community can show their appreciation for the workers at Paresky throughout the year.
Commons Appreciation Day will take place on Wednesday, April 18. For 45 minutes during the Commons’ workers break, Alianza Latina will give the Paresky Commons staff mason jars filled with candy as well as over 200 notes from students which have been collected over the course of the week. During this time, they will also present the video they are making, as well as host a raffle and a game of Bingo.
“[Commons Appreciation is] an event usually in April during the [Paresky] workers’ break. The week before, we have poster board in [Paresky] that people can sign, or write notes, and this year, we’re creating these mason jars to put notes in from students. We’re also creating a video to show the [Paresky] workers’ kids, students, and faculty faces… and say thank you,” said Espinosa.
Erin Vasquez ’19, Latin Arts Weekend Coordinator for Alianza Latina, said, “I think the most important part of Commons Appreciation is just having a day where we show our appreciation, thankfulness, and gratitude for everything they do. Even though we should be thinking about this on a daily basis, this is a special event that we do every year.”
Vasquez explains that strategies for showing gratitude to workers in Paresky can be simple but impactful if practiced on a daily basis.
“I think part of appreciation is just saying ‘Thank you’ when you get your food in [Paresky], or just remembering to pick up after yourself, and just being generally respectful and polite,” said Vasquez.
This year, the school provided funding for Commons Appreciation in order to enable organizers of the event include more of the community.
Emily Ortiz, Director of Publicity and Outreach for Alianza Latina, said, “As a club, we don’t have that many funds. We had $38. We really think that the whole school should be involved with Commons Appreciation, so we reached out to Mr. Palfrey, and he sent us over to someone who controls the budget, and they agreed to give us more money as long as we plan out the event well.”
“I know it’s something that they look forward to every year, and this year, we got support from the school to execute it, and that has been really helpful for us,” said Espinosa. Lorenzo Ortiz, Head of Sauté, has worked in Paresky since September. Before working at Andover, he worked at a retirement facility.
Lorenzo Ortiz said, “My favorite part about working in [Paresky] is the team orientation that we have here. We all work as a team, we all have tons of work. It’s a good place to work.”
Although students usually interact with servers like Ortiz, there are many different jobs that are done every day in Paresky.
Lorenzo Ortiz said, “We have maintenance, we have cleaning, we obviously have people that take care of the salad bar, sauté, pizza station, upstairs we have the grill station. We may look like we have separate stations, but we’re all united together.”
Espinosa hopes that students recognize the work done by all members of the Paresky team, not just the ones they may interact with every day.
“I think that you should not only say ‘Thank you’ to the more prominent workers, but also the people who are behind the sidelines who you don’t see too often,” said Espinosa.
According to Lorenzo Ortiz, students are generally courteous and respectful.
Lorenzo Ortiz said, “To be honest with you, I think you guys have been very respectful, very patient. I personally don’t see anything that you guys could do better. You guys have been great, in my opinion.”