“Better Know a Building Attendant” is a new series at the Forum dedicated to introducing students at Claremont McKenna College to their Building Attendants. The series will run every Friday morning until the end of the semester. This interview is the first of thirteen.
Ilma brings order to the chaos that is Green every Friday morning. She has been with Claremont McKenna College for five years: two in Collins, three taking care of Appleby and Green. She is the mother of four children aged 19-22. Below are some excerpts from our interview.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I like to run, work out, so I can manage all the work you kids give me at work.
Q: In the time you’ve had here, what is the worst thing you have ever seen a student do?
A: The worst thing I have ever seen? …Voooomit.
Q: In the bathroom?
A: And I couldn’t get it off the floor, (laughter) it was dry from the day before. And the other thing is one day they had a jell-o party-
Q: Oh no.
A: And they got–the entire bathroom was just red, red with jell-o. And you know when the jell-o dries, you can’t get it off the walls? And so I was in there the whole day.
Q: The whole day?
A: Getting all the jell-o off the walls. And I almost died I was so furious, but oh well. (more laughter) Everything is fine now.
Q: Does it look like this year will be a good one?
A: Yes, this year looks like it will be a good one. I haven’t been able to really be over with the Green kids because I was over helping in Appleby and being so here and there, I couldn’t focus on Green as much as I wanted, but now there is a new woman over there and I will be here full time, every day, seeing all the kids. I haven’t been able to get to know everyone yet, as there are a lot of new people. This year I got a lot of freshmen. There used to be more people who retained. But yes, it looks like a good year.
Q: What is the worst thing you have ever done for your kids?
A: I guess maybe sometimes there are things are on the floor next to the trash, and I think they are garbage and throw them out. I guess that’s bad. They don’t really get mad, but I feel bad.
Q: Well what is the best thing you’ve ever done for a student?
A: The best thing I’ve ever done, I think, I don’t know if it is, but I think so, wasn’t for one student, but for everyone: I give them my affection, because I know many of the children are far from home. I give them lots of love, and it’s been a beautiful thing for me. That’s what I feel that I have done well.
Q: I love that.
A: Because, because, I don’t know, I feel like they’re my kids. And that’s how I treat them, and I feel like they love right back, they treat me like I was their mother. So for me, it makes me happy to give them my love.
As you may have noticed, Ilma is one of the sweetest people on campus. Pause for a second and pick up after yourself. She’ll appreciate it.
Interested in getting involved in appreciating our support staff? The Worker’s Support Committee will be meeting Thursday, September 29, at 7:30pm in Marks Lounge. We’ll bake muffins and scones to deliver to the staff on Friday morning.