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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Will you make a difference?

Shining a light on everyday Brandeisians

Published: October 9, 2009
Section: Features

You’ve most likely walked past them countless times. You’ve probably been the recipient of their kind words or helpful gestures over and over again. Maybe you work in an office with one of them or you’ve simply heard their name a few times since you got to Brandeis.

Who are they? They are the faces of Brandeis. They are Brandeisians in their own right; not of the student type, but Brandeisians all the same.

They are the facilities workers and the dining services employees you come across every day, sometimes several times a day. They are the academic advisors and public safety officers who help you whether you know it or not.

They are the people who make a difference in your life at Brandeis, in however small or big a way.

So often we call attention to the negative in our lives and the negative aspects of our campus. This is important but recognizing the good is equally as essential.

Even on our worst days, there are people at Brandeis who dedicate themselves to making our lives a little bit easier. There are people who smile at us when we run into them in the dining halls, there are people we seek out for academic advice and there are people who work to ensure our safety.

In my time at Brandeis, I’ve found so many of these people and have been fortunate to form close bonds with many of them. When I graduate next year, I will leave having met both great friends of my own age, but also great mentors many years older than I am.

What about you? Who has made a difference in your life at Brandeis? Have you stopped lately to tell them that they did so?

Better yet, what about the people who make a difference that you don’t know personally? What about the people behind the scenes? Do you make an effort to put a face to a name? When you do and you actually run into them, do you even say hello? Do you ask them about their days or their families? Do you even know their names?

We are a community filled with students, professors, staff members and administrators. We are all different, yet we’re all the same in one way: we all have a story to share.

I want to meet these people making a difference, I want to share their stories and I want to introduce the community to them.

Please consider being a part of the Hoot Features section’s “Making a Difference” series. Send me the name of someone who has made a difference in your time at Brandeis and why they have done so. Send me the name of someone you’ve always admired or wanted to know more about, but didn’t bother to ask.

To kick off this series of articles, read this week about Gwenn Smaxwill, the 2008 recipient of the Lou Ennis Staff Award.

Kind acts often go unnoticed, but The Brandeis Hoot wants to recognize those kind people behind the acts.

Please email your submissions to and we will do our best to cover as many of them as possible.