The art of making the perfect wrap.
No big deal, right? For Hodson Dining Commons (DC) register attendant Susan Malone, this is far from true.
Malone has been bestowed the title of “best wrap maker” by students in the past, which she gladly claims.
“There is a way you do it to where you get a bite of something in every bite,” Malone said. “You don't just pile it all in the middle and then roll it up; you kind of spread it out in an imaginary circle, tuck the sides and roll it up. You get a bite of everything in there. I think that's why they liked me making their sandwiches. There's a craft to it.”
Although culinary arts were the main reason she joined Taylor’s food service 27 years ago, she was no longer able to work long hours on her feet after bouts of arthritis attacked her hips. Malone then moved to the DC registers, where she has now been placed four years.
While she may not be working with food, Malone finds new enjoyment in forming relationships with the students and faculty she interacts with on a daily basis.
“I love being around the kids, that's for sure,” Malone said. “Really, the students, they brighten my day; to hear their stories, to encourage them, to just see them every day.”
Malone looks at her job as one where she is able to supply an uplifting spirit. She desires to support and encourage students, especially with how often they return kindness to her.
For example, on a particularly rough day, one student Malone frequently talked to offered to pray for her, without even being aware of Malone’s struggles at that time. This exchange left Malone dumbfounded how the student was even aware of her troubles.
“I'm blessed, you know, in so many ways being here and that's one of the biggest blessings of all to see you all every day; it just makes my day,” Malone said.
Malone pours herself into the lives of students she interacts with each day and takes notice of them growing up. One of the many joys she finds in interacting with students is witnessing them come to campus unsure of themselves and leave ready to take on the world.
Malone attempts to always be encouraging and supportive to students because she recognizes that many of them are far from home and her smile may be just what they need.
Freshmen Hannah Nemni and Abbi Postma both have shared experiences with Malone. One of these experiences includes Postma’s mother thanking Malone for watching out for her daughter. Malone was happy she could help.
Malone has inside jokes with both Nemni and Postma, including one with Malone’s velvet hat and another concerning either Nemni or Postma eating without the other.
“We intentionally like go see her when we know (she is working), and then we talk to her about her day and then she asks us about our day,” Namni said. “I feel like it's a lot more than just like a ‘swipe-my-card-I'm-going-to-get-lunch-thanks.’”
Nemni recognizes the personal impact that Malone has had on her life and appreciates the intentional effort Malone puts into getting to know her.
Like many other students, Nemni is grateful Malone desires to form relationships with those she encounters on a daily basis. She is also appreciative Malone pours herself into students’ lives, making her job much more than simply swiping a card.
“I think she always has a smile, and I don't think she just looks at it as a minimum paying job; she looks at it as a way to connect with people,” Nemni said. “She gets to see so many (people) every day. I'm one freshman; I'm sure she has these encounters every day with multiple students. She has made a big impact on me, and she's made a big, big impact on other people in the Taylor community.”
When it comes to a career, Malone said working as a DC swiper is her dream job. Although she realized that God could call her anywhere or to do something else, as far as she is concerned, this is where He wants her.
From watching freshmen become seniors, helping students transition into college and establishing a personal relationship with many of them — Malone has made her job as DC swiper one where she can show God’s love to every student she encounters.
“(The) most rewarding (experience) is the fellowship with the student —the smiles, the hugs — just seeing them everyday. That's a blessing because they're so uplifting and supportive, and I try to be supportive of them too,” Malone said. “(I) try to encourage them when they're feeling down, and it's just a blessing that I'm here, that I have ended up from cooking to be(ing) a cashier.”