Student-Staff Respect: Are We Doing Enough?


Courtesy of Anna Callahan/Villanovan Photography

Staff workers are essential at dining locations and residence hall across campus.

Maddie Koenig, Staff Writer

Picture this: as you walk into the Pit dining hall, you see one of your favorite members of the kitchen staff and give him or her a fist bump. You smile for a moment, then grab your food and sit down at one of the tables along the window wall. There’s no problem with this, right? 

Let’s rewind. When you walk in, you see the name tag of the person monitoring the check-in station. It only features a first name. After looking around for a moment, it is clear that the rest of the staff, too, was given a name tag with just a first name and no prefix title like “Mrs., Ms. or Mr.” Maybe the person in charge of the name tag distribution wanted to allow students to form relationships with the employees on a first name basis. 

However, wouldn’t referring to people with a title in front of their last name bring a new sense of respect from the students to workers? And, more importantly, are the employees okay with the name tag that was given to them without question?

According to, it is traditionally more respectful for one to refer to someone with his or her last name, and definitely an article like “Mr. or Mrs.” This is true for most cultures. The website states that if “you work under someone or they teach you, stick with that last name format as a sign of respect.” Though perhaps not a typical working or teaching dynamic, the staff helps us by serving us food every day. In fact, the power rests in their hands for most of the buffet stations at the dining halls. If they are the ones holding the power to feed us, it seems wrong that we are subconsciously “looking down upon them” with their name tag format. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is how the staff feels in the uniform that they were given. I asked an anonymous staff member in the Pit dining hall what he thought about the situation, and contrary to what I originally thought, he mentioned that he was fine with it, and that he thought it was more welcoming to students to be addressed by his first name.

“I feel respected by the students,” he said. “It is more friendly this way.”

He revealed that he is happy with where he’s at and that he had never really thought of this to be a problem before.

“I don’t think [a change in name tags] would affect the way the students treat the staff,” he said. “Students already know us for our names.”

When asked if he wanted to add any final thoughts, he asked if the students are enjoying the food and the dining services as a whole. This shows a lot about character and how much the staff members in kitchen and custodial settings think about the well-being of the students over themselves.

Nida Geo, a custodial worker who cleans the bathrooms of Fedigan and Delurey Halls daily, is more than happy with her current occupation and does not have a single complaint about the way the students in these buildings treat her. Every morning, I walk into the bathroom, and she instantly brightens my day by smiling and asking me how I am. Last week, she brought a cabinet from her own house to our bathroom so we could easily store our hair dryers and other items in it. Actions like this go way above and beyond what is expected and reveal a lot about the character of the staff as a whole here at Villanova. 

I came into this topic with unclear expectations of how the staff felt about the treatment they receive from our student body. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised that staff members feel respected and how they go out of their way to form positive relationships with the students. Villanova is commonly known for the inclusive, selfless values of its student body. I’m proud to say that I can confirm this as true. We are all more than lucky to be living in an environment in which respect for staff members sits high on our list of values and priorities, and it is important that we keep it that way.