First Annual Worker Appreciation Day Held by Undergraduates

Festive beats of salsa and meringue, holiday foods and echoes of laughter filled the Adams House Lower Common Room (LCR) on Saturday afternoon.

But at this gathering, Harvard juniors danced with people more than twice their age, and conversation was just as likely to be held in Creole or Spanish as in English.

More than 20 Harvard custodial workers and their families turned out to celebrate with about 20 students for the first annual Worker Appreciation Day at Harvard, sponsored primarily by the Progressive Student Labor Movement's Living Wage Campaign, the Black Students Association (BSA) and the Harvard Haitian Alliance.


BSA Public Service Chair Tiffany S. McNair '02 said she developed the idea last summer "to honor the workers--to show them that students at Harvard do care."

Along with Living Wage Campaign member Stephen N. Smith '02 and Haitian Alliance Public Service Chair Emilio J. Travieso '02, McNair coordinated the reception.

Participants said it was also important to recognize Harvard's workers as part of the University's minority community, and many minority student organizations co-sponsored the event.

"These people are part of the Harvard community, but they're also a part of our community," Haitian Alliance President Anne-Carmene Almonord '02 said.

McNair said that the event was a simple holiday celebration without a political message. She added that workers might be "hesitant to come to something with a political connotation."

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