All in a day’s work: A look into the work lives of Calvin University’s faculty and staff

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All in a day’s work: A look into the work lives of Calvin University’s faculty and staff

Commons dining hall staff

Commons dining hall staff

Lauren DeVries

Commons dining hall staff

Lauren DeVries

Lauren DeVries

Commons dining hall staff

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Ever wondered what it would be like to work for Calvin University? Here’s an inside look at the daily work lives of some of the people Calvin University couldn’t run without.  

Holly Diemer – Food Service

Holly Diemer, Calvin alumna, has been working in Commons for just over a year. Formerly a community life coordinator in the Knollcrest East apartments, and mother to a freshman at Calvin, Holly has many ties to the Calvin community. 

She comes into work at 6:30 a.m, turning everything on, traying up the donuts, temping the food, and making sure there’s coffee. For lunch, she typically works in the taqueria line, or helps to restock food. When she is not helping in one of the lines, she wipes down the tables or helps prepare the taqueria line. 

Holly appreciates many different aspects of the job, her coworkers one of them. “I enjoy them a lot,” she says. During our interview Holly was greeted warmly by her coworker, Mo. “This is Mo,” she said, “The best boss ever.”

Holly also enjoys getting to see her son at work. “I get to see him in line and so it’s not so bad, him going away to school, because I still get to see him.” Holly has three other children at home, so working 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. fits well with her schedule. 

Looking to try something new at Commons? Holly recommends the nachos with chicken and chipotle sauce.

Anna Boorsma – Adjunct Professor of Astronomy

Adjunct Professor of Astronomy Anna Boorsma is finishing her first month teaching at Calvin. A Calvin alumna, Boorsma teaches astronomy, physics and chemistry at Holland Christian High School during the day and returns to her alma mater at night to administer two astronomy labs. 

“I always wanted to be a teacher; that was my number one love. Science was my second love,” she says, recalling her journey to becoming a teacher. 

After graduation, Boorsma stayed active in the Calvin community, coming to the recent engineering kickoff event. When the position for a part-time astronomy professor opened, Boorsma was the perfect candidate. “I had the unique experience as a high school teacher to be able to teach astronomy in a high school, because many high schools don’t teach astronomy,” she says. 

Boorsma says she’s passionate about teaching and hopes her love for science is evident throughout her classes. 

“I’ve always really appreciated the physics and astronomy department here at Calvin. They were really, really intentional about community, which is a big deal to me in my life.”

Boorsma says she strives to build community and appreciates the way her colleagues do the same.

“The way my colleagues have wrapped me into the community has made such a difference. They gave me that foundation that then let me go out into the classroom and be successful. I have loved the community and the people. I love teaching because I love people.”

Alayna Spiering – Janitorial Staff

Alayna Spiering, a freshman studying secondary education, starts her work day later than most — at 9 p.m. She arrives at the fieldhouse and begins by cleaning the locker rooms. “I mostly clean the locker rooms, but sometimes I may sweep or mop the floors, or clean the tables.” 

Alayna is not only part of the Calvin staff but she is also a Calvin student. Community, an important part of the job for many Calvin employees, was an important factor for her when it came to choosing to work at Calvin. 

“I felt as though I was able to stay in the community while I was working,” she said. Although she is a student, Calvin gives her very flexible hours, which is one of her favorite parts of the job. 

She also enjoys making friends on the job with other students as well as her supervisors, and considers it one of the major benefits. 

Luke Devries – Head Deskie and Resident Assistant in Noordewier-VanDerwerp Residence Hall

Luke Devries, a junior at Calvin studying music education, is very active in his dorm community. Not only is he the head deskie, but he is also an RA on first VanderWerp. 

He starts his shift as a deskie by logging into the desk and checking through the money to make sure everything is the way it was the night before. After that, the primary focus of a deskie is to make sure that students have all their needs met, from handing out toilet paper to administering packages. 

In his position as a deskie, Luke takes on many tasks, such as keeping students updated on events happening on campus, pointing students towards the resources they need, and enforcing policy. However, Luke’s favorite part of the job is getting to know people and build community. 

“The part that I like the most is the relational part and just getting to know people, getting to know their background, realizing everyone around us is so different from us, but getting to know their interests, what they like to do.”

He also enjoys creating a welcoming environment where students can feel at home.

“RAs help create a culture on the floor that is welcoming to everyone. It’s a place to try to connect people with one another,” he said. “We make sure that all students are feeling loved and that they understand how their actions affect one another. It’s just a place really to create a community where people can feel connected to one another.” 

Sometimes, Luke says, RAs can just be a person to talk to. “Just to be that extra support for everyone is awesome.”

No matter what department, one theme was important for all four employees: community. Whether it is through befriending coworkers, helping new students find their place on campus, or sharing a passion for science – these Calvin employees work hard to make the University a welcoming and inclusive space.