Celebrate Staff during ‘Housekeeping Week’

About 1,000 university and hospital environmental services staff care for offices, dorms and more

Annie Smith, standing, a senior supervisor for housekeepers at the Fuqua School of Business, poses with Vanessa Bass, left, and Beverly Jordan, housekeeper specialists at the school. The image was taken during 2015’s appreciation lunch.
Annie Smith, standing, a senior supervisor for housekeepers at the Fuqua School of Business, poses with Vanessa Bass, left, and Beverly Jordan, housekeeper specialists at the school. The image was taken during 2015’s appreciation lunch.

From today through Friday, faculty and staff have a special opportunity to recognize the employees who work behind the scenes.

International Housekeeping Week – being renamed University Environmental Services Week on campus - runs Sept. 11 to 17 and with its return comes the chance to recognize professional housekeepers and sanitation staff who maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment while working in facilities across Duke. About 1,000 university and hospital environmental services staff care for campus offices, hospital space, dorms and more, covering over 5 million square feet in 120 university buildings alone and servicing 1,500 recycling bins in 160 buildings.

Mary Jo Clancy, administrative assistant in the Duke Divinity School’s Office of the Dean, said that Divinity’s housekeeping staff plays an essential role in providing laughter, friendship and last-minute help for events.

“Their warm greetings start my early day off in the best way possible as I walk into the otherwise empty hallways and remind me that they’ve already been present for hours, preparing our space with care,” Clancy said.

Mary McClintock Fulkerson, professor of theology, echoed Clancy, noting that interacting with housekeeping staff makes for an enriching work environment.

“They make it a valuable and fun place to be,” Fulkerson said.

To celebrate last year’s Housekeeping Week, employees at the Fuqua School of Business held special breakfast and lunch events for their housekeeping staff as a way to say thank you. Faculty, staff and students are again planning something special for this week.

“Not only does the team do great work, but they are always asking about employees on a personal level,” said Erin Medlyn, public relations director at Fuqua. “On a recent maternity leave, one team member even left me little notes of encouragement, saying she missed me and asking about the baby.”