Column: Students can help relieve budget stress

Shelby Niehaus , Copy Editor

Everyone is worried about our current lack of state funding, I’m sure.

We are in an unprecedented situation, and it’s wearing on everyone’s morale.

While we as students are concerned, the staff and faculty may have more riding on the budget impasse than us, and we need to show our support for them just as often as they show their support for us.

One of the groups that needs our support the most are the building services workers.

We all know how many building service workers we’ve lost recently; we’re now at the point where some staff members are responsible for entire buildings alone, and some groupings of class buildings are shared between very small teams of BSWs.

We as students should be more responsible for our own messes to take some of the stress off overworked BSWs. If students take the initiative to clean up after themselves, the BSWs will surely be relieved.

Students can also clean up their own spills in the dining halls, pick up trash they see lying about, wipe down kitchenette features after they’ve used them and pick up their trash in classrooms.

Additionally, as some buildings are removing garbage cans from classrooms for ease of cleaning, students should be careful about what they throw away in instructional buildings.

Avoid throwing away particularly heavy objects in these small bins, and dump out liquids before throwing away bottles, cups and cans.

However, we must also be sure to stand with union efforts as well.

While we should pick up our own garbage when we get the chance to in order to create less work for the BSWs, we should also be careful not to infringe on the work they are already doing.

Please don’t vacuum and sweep common areas, move furniture or attempt repairs on university-owned fixtures; these tasks are sole responsibility of the BSWs, and we should respect their existing work.

The impasse has been hard on unions of all sorts. There has been some student support for the University Professionals of Illinois, which serves faculty members, but not as much support and solidarity has been offered to BSWs.

Should the staff members rally, students should support the efforts of the unions serving Eastern’s staff. We owe them that much.

The last and possibly most important element of helping and standing with the staff during the impasse is making sure they know the student body cares about them.

Take the time to get to know your BSWs, especially if you live in a residence hall. These are some of the hardest working people on campus, and they deserve the respect of every student.

Shelby Niehaus is a junior English and English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].