More than likely, you’ve worked in the customer service business at least once. You’ve taken orders, dealt with cranky or highly specific individuals who basically tell you how to do your job; you clean up after them and watch as they ungratefully ignore your presence.

If you’ve had this experience, I’m assuming you hated how you were treated. So, I’m advocating you talk.

It’s time to stop ignoring the cleaning staff at KSC.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

I’m speaking to those of you who sit in the DC and as the cleaning staff edge closer, wiping off the grime on the tables left by other students, you decide to dig your nose closer to your laptop or book and avert your eyes.

The cleaning staff are often invisible, the ones whom very few students talk to, the ones in the background that shouldn’t have to hide just because they carry a bucket of cleaning solution. These individuals are the silent soldiers of Keene State College.

Without them, our campus would be so much dirtier, with bathroom floors littered with toilet paper, sinks crusted with spit, Zorn’s tables sticky with food, the plates never warm and sparkling.

Now I know several of these examples are not always pristinely clean, but without the staff, any concept of cleanliness would be thrown out the window.

When you were working that minimum wage customer service job, I bet you sometimes felt little ambition to provide the best service, but if someone gave you a compliment or simply asked how you were, you probably smiled and worked a little harder.

I’m advocating you treat KSC staff with just as much respect as you would your friends. They deserve a “Hello,” “How are you doing?” and even a “Did you watch the game Sunday?”

Where have these interactions gotten me? I get to pick the cookie I want from Hoot N’ Scoot, the cleaning ladies leave massive rolls of paper towels in the bathroom of the Owl’s Nest I live in and the smiles I get from staff have tripled. Simply saying hello has improved my mood and helped me connect with not only them, but myself.

I would say I’m a happy person, but so often I’m absorbed in my own thoughts of papers, tests and my impending graduation that I forget to stop and look around. Saying hi to staff allows me to exit the bubble of my personal world and learn about someone else.

For a few seconds out of my day, I hear about the cleaning lady’s three children, what the dining staff did over their weekend and check in with those who enjoy giving me daily recaps of their life adventures. In return, they ask how I’m doing, which is nice to have on the days I feel isolated.

These silent soldiers of KSC–who clean up after you–should not be required to keep mum. Remember how it felt to be ignored at that customer service job, and if a member of the cleaning staff says hi to you, say hi back. If you choose not to, well…you’re ignoring the most amazing, hard-working people you’ll ever meet.

Valerie Carpentier can be contacted at

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