University Communications – University of Rochester senior Emi Hitomi has been selected as the 2013-2014 University of Rochester Student Employee of the Year. The award, which is given annually by the Financial Aid Office, recognizes an outstanding student employee who has made valuable contributions to the department in which he or she works. Hitomi, a building manager supervisor for Wilson Commons, was nominated by Michael Dedes, Wilson Commons services coordinator.
Hitomi, a neuroscience major, got her start as a Hive Game Room employee her freshman year, and quickly worked her way up the ranks to serve as a building manager for two years, learning the policies and procedures of Wilson Commons. “Because there’s always so much going on in Wilson Commons, not much our job is written in our job description,” says Hitomi. “We are the go-to people for all student employee-run stations (the Common Market, the Hive, Common Connection, and the Hartnett Art Gallery) after hours when all the professional staff has left.”
Hitomi was a natural choice for the role of building manager supervisor her senior year, due to her dedication and reliability as a building manager. “Emi is a one of those rare individuals who truly cares about everyone she comes in contact with. There are no smoke or mirrors with Emi, she is as true as they come,” says Dedes. “She supports all her staff members, even those that can be difficult to deal with, and ensures that everyone has all the resources to be successful.”
During her time at Wilson Commons last semester, Hitomi helped ensure that a new initiative to keep Wilson Commons open for 24 hours during finals week, to provide additional study spaces to students, ran smoothly. “We have a new late-night programming group that works hard to come up with ideas to provide students with a place to study, relax or have fun late at night,” says Hitomi. While asking her fellow building managers to work extended hours with her was difficult, Hitomi handled it excellently by emphasizing the importance it would have to the student body. In addition to study spaces, Hitomi also worked with her staff to ensure that the exercise areas, movie screenings, and late-night food options for students offered by the event had the resources and space they needed. The event was a huge success with more than 140 students attending. “Emi is one of those student employees who understands the mission of a student union and the role it plays on the college campus. She understands the bigger picture concepts and tries her best to translate that to those she works with so everyone is adding to the common goal,” remarked Dedes.
One of the most valuable parts of her job, Hitomi says, is interacting with people. “As an employee of WCSA, I have met and worked alongside a lot of the staff and faculty that are involved in student activities across campus. Through them I have learned a lot about campus events and student organizations.”
Although, Hitomi’s job is not without its challenges. “There was one time, it was a week or two before Meliora Weekend and we had only three boxes of chocolate covered pretzels left. We were all panicking and trying to rush order more. Fortunately we got an order of them in time to be fully stocked.”
After graduation, Hitomi will be working for the next year as a lab technician in Dr. Nedergaard’s lab at the University Rochester Medical Center.
National Student Employment Week is an annual week sponsored by the National Student Employment Association which seeks to recognize Student Employees at College Campuses across the Nation. In addition to an award ceremony for the Student Employee of the Year, here at the University of Rochester individual departments find their own creative ways to celebrate their dedicated student employees. The Financial Aid Office, for example, hosts a number of events for their employees during the week, hosting a celebration lunch and a scavenger hunt as well as creating photo bios for each of their employees. Here at University Communications, the office celebrated its student interns with a pizza party and a giant cake!
The following 16 students were also nominated for the award this year:
Zachary Brumberger ’14 – Biochemistry
Sara Leung ’14 – Mathematics
Patrick Hennessey ’14 – English
Liv Earle T5 ’14 – Comparative Lit.
Alex Montes ’16 – History
Lily Martyn ’14 – Epidemiology
Ana Garcia ’14 KEY – International Relations
Keishla Zayas ’15 – English
Marcia des Jardin ’15 – Molecular Genetics
Alex Teghipco ’14 – Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Sarah Winstein-Hibbs ’14 – English
Claire Wyman ’14 – Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Emily Fitzgerald ’16 – Microbiology
Margaret Speer ’15 – English
Rachel Taylor ’15 – Microbiology
Ted Teumer ’14 -Computer Science