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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Beloved staff member inspired by students

Published: December 6, 2013
Section: News

Employed at Brandeis University since Aug. 2009, Fred George has forged a lasting impression on the student body, stemming from his natural ability to relate to individuals of all backgrounds. Whether he is working behind the counter at the mailroom, implementing improvements at the Stein or working at the new Dunkin’ Donuts, Fred’s personable nature has inspired countless students, while he simultaneously draws his own inspiration from the student body.

Describing his impact on the student body, Karina Ayala Casanova ’15, currently studying abroad in Argentina, said, “It’s always a joy to run into Fred at the mail room or elsewhere, because his high positive spirit always brings the best out of people. He’s like a huge teddy bear!”

Fred traces his natural ability to relate to students of all backgrounds to his own experiences growing up in a rough, inner-city neighborhood marked by poverty in Boston, where he had to learn to mask his friendly demeanor to survive. He said, “Another key aspect from the streets of Boston is that my youth, childhood and past has been filled with variable pains. One of the benefits is I can relate to a lot of people’s pain.” Demonstrating his big heart, Fred said, “If I can help a bum on the street, I’ll help him.”

His capacity for developing bonds may be attributed to his personal motto to stay positive, his unique life experiences and the mutual respect existing between himself and the students on campus. “When I see the students, I see them as adults, and I treat them as such,” Fred explains.

Having worked on campus for over five years, Fred has witnessed several of the dining changes on campus as well. He praises the new dining service, explaining “One thing I really appreciate about Sodexo as opposed to the regime of last year, I feel Sodexo listens to the opinions of students a lot more.”

Beyond his role in the mailroom, Fred has worked at the Stein as well, which is currently undergoing renovations. Opting for a lounge style in Deis After Dark, he implemented a buffet-style service so students would not have to wait long to be served. In the past, he has served as a co-host of the radio show “On the Street,” although he is currently taking a brief hiatus. While hosting the show, he encourages an open dialogue and seeks to hear the diverse perspectives of callers. “Instead of coming in with my opinions and wanting to prove viewers wrong, I want to hear their voices,” a method that he states leads to a more interesting conversation.

Although Fred has served as an inspiration to students, he asserts the impact Brandeis University has had on his life goals as well. “If I had gone to college, Brandeis would have been the place,” he said. Currently hoping to pursue a degree in hospitality, he reflected, “In all honesty, I am inspired by the Brandeis students to do better myself.” Tracing his childhood from the streets of Boston, he notes he never considered college to be a feasible option in the past due to the costs, but now considers higher education an absolute must. “I am almost in awe of the students and what they can do,” he said. Noting the ability of students to apply themselves in their studies, he devised the motto, “Brandeis: play hard, study harder.”

He also noted the recent resignation of Mark Collins, stating, “It is especially sad for me because Collins lived in the city of Boston like I did, he walked some of the same streets I walked, and look how far he’s come. Coming from a tough neighborhood, he still succeeded.”

While Fred has left his mark on Brandeis University through his rapport with students and ability to relate to others, he expresses his gratitude to the university as well.

“I just want to thank the Brandeis community. When I came here, just 28 years old, my mentality then, and my mentality now when I’m 32, has done a complete 180. I’ve seen how seriously Brandeis students take their studies, they make me want to do better,” he said.