Jonathon and I were in Plaza Records recently and we saw our friend, Matthew. He is just an all around good guy! Did you ever know someone that every time you spoke with them…you left the better for it? That is Matt! I met him for the first at a meeting of the civil service council. At the time I had been asked by the group to be their representative to the State University Annuitants Association, local chapter. He was a new member of the Council. I had been a member of the elected representative body for civil service employee, for 15 years during my career. During the 5 years that I was the chair of the group I discovered that chancellors and presidents of our beloved university were as human as I was! They wanted good for our campus and they needed someone to work with them. Being set apart by several layers of managerial and administrative bureaucracy…often it was difficult for them to hear the story of the staff that were directly affected by their policies. One of the most affective answers for that break-down in communication was monthly, or more, meetings with the campus leader. If the chancellor was on campus I usually could see them the same day that I requested a meeting. The same could be said for president Glenn Poshard. So many misunderstandings and knotty problems could be unravelled by the oil of collegial communication…
The dedication of the council was phenomenal! The professionals that comprised the group already had herculean job duties and yet chose to shoulder the massive and vital task of representing their colleagues. I watch as my friend Elizabeth works countless hours per day…and night…to represent the civil service community and fulfill her many job requirements! Chancellors that welcome the advice of their civil service council…tend to succeed in all areas of their administration!
I was fond of telling chancellors that the housekeeping department knew what was going on across campus… I would say the same for the civil service staff. We are everywhere…and yet often unseen…in plain sight. If you want to feel the pulse of the campus…talk to the people that are holding the patients wrist!
Our precious students identify with the members of the campus community that they are around frequently. Usually this is member of the civil service staff. I have heard countless stories regarding a civil service worker ‘being SIUC’ to lonely or homesick student…when it seemed that no one else was interested. Our students desire to become a member of the campus community and they are searching for someone who cares about them…before they tell them how much they know! During times of stress and uncertainty it is essential that all people that we meet know that we value them and want to help them…and that we need their help!