The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Be polite to working Panthers

A student worker in Rialto hands ice cream to a student. Opinion columnist Estelle Johnson encourages students to be conscious of how they interact with student workers.

Being a student worker means more than just providing for your fellow Panthers – it means having responsibilities to serve, help and aid those who are in need of what you provide. Those who work in dining, resident services, financial services or anywhere else on campus have most likely experienced a lack of graciousness among the people we have to serve. 

This is not necessarily just about kindness, but rather the simple act of being polite to another human being who is going out of their way to help you. Whether it’s on campus or off campus, customer service workers are expected to tolerate anything thrown their way. The offense may be as simple as inappropriate language, but it’s not entirely unlikely that customer service employees won’t experience further damage from such interactions. 

A student worker who requested to remain anonymous acknowledged how tough it can be to navigate impolite patrons.“It’s not just people being rude. It’s people not even looking up from their own lives to recognize what others are doing for them.” 

This student worker’s experience touches on the frequent phone usage seen among students, and how student workers are being ignored as screens seem more important. The same student worker commented, “It’s like I’m invisible to everyone.”

It is almost as if students see student workers in the same way humans see ants. It appears some students who do not work for campus don’t realize that student workers go out of their way to support the Panther community. 

Being a student worker means more than just providing for your fellow Panthers. It means having responsibility to serve, help and aid those in need.

A second student working in dining services, who also requested to remain anonymous said, “When I’m serving someone, and they don’t say anything, it honestly makes me not want to serve them.”

Feeling uninterested in serving customers is fairly typical in a fast-food restaurant job. But for student workers who haven’t been working on campus a long time, feeling so negatively about working on-campus is extremely unfortunate. It’s worrying that students are making their fellow peers feel unappreciated, considering the majority have experienced negative work interactions outside of campus. The dining service student worker also pointed out, “It’s hard because I think everyone thinks we’re full-grown working adults: we’re literally eighteen or nineteen years old, just like you.”

The issue is the insufficiency of politeness among one another. Some students still have good-old fashioned manners, and are polite to student workers. It seems to be enough of a recurrence that students should really start to recognize their actions towards workers. For a generation that prides itself on the absence of misbehavior, the lack of courtesy towards our own peers is unacceptable. Keeping in mind that student workers are just normal people attempting to make a few dollars, and recognizing all of the work they do for their peers, the least others can do is treat them with decency and respect. 

We can easily solve this problem by putting in more effort to interact with one another. It’s the simplest things that go the farthest, such as saying thanks, participating in small talk and making eye contact. These things can be uncomfortable initially, but student workers are some of the kindest of people, and truly want to help you out. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Northern Iowan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *