CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
As students scurried to their morning classes they stumbled upon chalk-drawn written phrases all across the campus grounds. Some of the phrases read “we appreciate our workers,” “student and worker solidarity” and “there ain’t no POWER, like the POWER of the students cuz the POWER of the students WON’T STOP” in bright and bold colors.
The Poets Organizing For Worker’s Economic Rights (POWER) met Thursday, April 21 at 8 a.m., and chalked these phrases around campus to show their appreciation for the Sodexo workers, Bon Appetit workers and facility workers and all other employees on Whittier’s campus. They also passed out roses to any workers that passed by, as a token of appreciation for the work that they do.
“The campus wouldn’t work without its workers. They’re such a crucial part of proceedings here and keeping things moving and a lot of times they’re invisible,” junior and POWER member Maxwell Hoversten said. “They have their own stories and we want to say that we recognize them, we see them and that we respect everything they do for us.
Sophomore Krista Fonseca and Senior Jessica Rozman, along with POWER, carried out this project to make a difference forworkers they feel are underappreciated. “Some of the students don’t see the Sodexo workers. It’s important to tell students that they’re here and tell the campus that they’re helping us,” first-year Christian Alcantara said. “It’s important for us to humanize them and tell them that we’re grateful to have them, otherwise it’s going to be left unsaid.”
By chalking the campus, the club made a statement for all to see. “It’s a powerful thing to change the built environment of this campus to reflect this message,” Hoversten said. “It’s not just a handshake or a few good words in private, it’s a very open, very public thing. Everyone is seeing it. It makes our appreciation very loud and very clear, in a way that doesn’t happen too often.”
The students were happy to make a difference for the workers. “It made me feel empowered,” Alcantara said. “We have so much power as students, we have a voice about what goes on, on the campus.”
The workers were happy to see the students share their appreciation for them. Mayra Macias has worked at Whittier College’s Bon Appétit for 12 years and was thrilled to see the students engage with the workers on campus. “I was really surprised. I knew it was coming, but the detail and the language that they used to describe their connection to us was really very sincere and close to my heart,” she said fondly. “I was touched I had never seen something like that from students.”
Daisy Machado, another Bon Appétit worker, wore a flower from POWER in her hair as she swiped IDs at the Campus Inn that night. “Not only me, but all my coworkers were very happy that [the students] appreciate what we do and that makes us really happy,” Machado said. “It keeps us going.”
For some employees that have been at Whittier for many years, POWER is an impressive group of students.“I’m just so proud to be here at this time to see all this,” Macias said. “I’m glad I waited all these years to finally see support.”