The staff members at Becker College are getting the
recognition they want. Ever since President Johnson took his place here, the
maintenance staff has been asked how to improve their working conditions.
Lynette and Lynelis, sisters working behind the scenes at Becker, are just two
of the people who are happier with how things are.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Worcester, the Figueros
have been at Becker since 2007. They started out in housekeeping all while
they’ve been starting families of their own and studying at separate colleges.
Lynelis switched to the dining services in 2010, as she is more interested in
Notable for their long hair, they may be easily spotted
around campus. They’ve kept it since they were young and don’t plan to make any
drastic changes any time soon. Lynelis says they “do everything together”
and are very alike; they’re twins.
Lynelis has been at Quinsigamond Community College since
2004 working for degrees in Culinary Arts and Nursing. She works every day at
Becker whether she’s in the role of cashier or cook behind the counter. This
spring, she took off a semester from Quinsig because of how overwhelming her
life has become. Soon to be 28, Lynelis has one child to care for at home.
As for Lynette, she has also studied Nursing. She hopes to
get her certificate from Salter College in Executive Office. Lynette would like
to find a nursing opportunity after graduation. Also a mother, she has two kids
at home and is pregnant with a third. Monday to Friday she cleans out three
residence halls and the Hawk’s Nest. On Saturday she has seven residence halls
to clean. As much as she enjoys her job, Lynette is not a fan of the messes the
students make. The most notable is the sports equipment that’s left out and
stinks up the halls.
Part of Lynelis’ previous position involved being a cashier.
The two would be equally ideal at that position as they are both naturally nice
and friendly. Unfortunately for Lynette, that’s not in her current job
description. In fact, students have been rude towards her and the maintenance
staff. They prank the staff and leave garbage for them to intentionally clean
up. Some have done it for they feel superior to her and treat her as a maid.
Students have also felt embarrassed to talk with her as they feel like they
are, as she says, “better” than the maintenance crew. Lynette has
felt alone during her shifts since she has no one to relate to; she’s the
youngest in housekeeping.
Lynelis’ previous tasks were not always hunky dory. Students
have been completely ignorant of dining hours, tried to get in free, and
attempted to get in after the doors closed. Lynelis says, “they don’t
read.” There are students who take cups, silverware, and food out of the
dining hall, which they’re not supposed to do. Staff in the dining hall must
clean tables, although Lynelis thinks some customers have a lack of manners.
Groups of students leave plates and food and dismiss the blame for the mess.
Starting in the fall of 2012, Lynelis was moved to the deli
station. She says it is better than swiping cards at the door. Although, once
in a while she gets attitude from new people about how they want their sandwich
made. Those who are positioned at the door also clean tables. Lynelis is glad
to have a new position; it is easier to clean up the deli after use. She also
has a say in what goes on in the cafeteria. Others who have used the deli that
did not clean up as well were moved. She also trains new employees.
Nevertheless, Lynette and Lynelis are grateful for having
their jobs and are friendly with most of the Becker community. In the long run,
they plan to move on from Becker. Each is looking forward to a career at a
hospital, either in deskwork or as a nurse. Lynelis fantasizes about moving to
Florida or even Georgia. That news left Lynette with a surprised reaction
during our conversation. Even with all of their life goals in mind, Lynette
said she might die here in housekeeping.
As an update, I spoke with President Johnson. I wanted to
know how he goes about scheduling meetings with the maintenance staff. I was
struck with the idea that these are formal meetings that the twins had
mentioned. President Johnson informs me that he merely walks around campus
asking how the staff is doing. This is all that the Figueros ask for,
recognition and appreciation.
Brendan Testa, Staff Writer