It’s a Sunday morning in the dorms, it’s 2A.M., and everyone is just getting back from a party to celebrate the crazy win the football team had earlier. Things get messy, put a hundred-fifty eighteen and nineteen year-olds together and things are bound to go a little chaotic. We’ve all been here, everyone that has gone to college knows this type of night. But did you ever wonder who cleaned up after you and your friends drunken night, or even think to thank that person.
Well that person in Racey, one of Shenandoah University’s freshmen dorms is Roxanne, or known to the residents as Ms. Roxy. She has been cleaning Racey for the past year and a half, and before that worked in the University’s kitchen.
This wasn’t always the job Ms. Roxy intended to have. When she was younger to would say “I’m going to be a vet.” She loves animals, which her five cats can attest to, so that is what she wanted to do. But a pregnancy senior year of high school that left her pregnant at graduation steered her path in a different direction. She didn’t go off to college like others in her year, she stayed home, got a job, and had her daughter.
When Ms. Roxy first graduated high school and had her daughter, she got jobs at factories. The factories she kept working out, which were mainly car part factories, kept closing down. The pay wasn’t good so she kept renting homes to live in. Eventually she wanted a real home for her and her family and through habitat for humanity, finally got her very own place.
After all her factory jobs Ms. Roxy came to Shenandoah University to work for Sodexo in the kitchen. After five years in the kitchen she decided to work on the actual campus and work as a custodian for a little more money which she needed after getting back together with her daughters father and having a second child, a son, with autism.
Ms. Roxy rubs away tears in her eyes when she talks about her life at home and having to provide for her two children on the insufficient pay from the University. Her parents are getting old and want to live with her but there is no room in her house for them and no money to move to a different house. And she doesn’t want to be working in the dorms the rest of her life, it wears on her dragging garbage up and downstairs and cleaning up after everyone, and for such a scant pay, she say’s it’s not for her.
She wants something better and tried to achieve it. She went to Lord Fairfax Community College one year to try and get a degree but ultimately dropped out because it was too hard with work and taking care of her children.
The dorms in any school would not function without the cleaning staff. They’re the unsung heroes of college campus that never get the recognition they deserve. So next time you see the custodian, thank them and talk to them.