A College Store coordinator helps students safely purchase what they require to succeed on campus.

Specialists in the Registrar’s Office manage a torrent of academic records that help track a student’s career through Bates.

And a member of the Campus Safety staff ferries students to places in Lewiston-Auburn in his role as a shuttle driver.

Whether students are feeling down, or need help getting their feet back on the ground, they get the support they need from Bates staff, whose work helps position students for success in their work with the equally devoted Bates faculty.

Each week for the next three weeks, we’ll continue to share portraits of Bates staff members as well as stories in their own words about how they have responded to the needs of our students during a time of crisis. Totaling 21 staffers, from 19 different college offices, these Bates people rise to the challenge when students need somebody — not just anybody.

Judith Ayugi

As the interim office coordinator for the Bates College Store, located in Kalperis Hall on Campus Avenue, Judith Ayugi helps the store run smoothly so students get what they need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Judith Ayugi
Judith Ayugi

In the past, the Bates College Store has been open to the broader Lewiston community and any campus visitors, such as prospective students and families, alumni, and Bates parents.

But the pandemic forced us to narrow our in-store service to only students and the Bates community to reduce the risk of contagion. Like all other Bates buildings, the College Store has been open only to employees and students in 2020–21.

In addition, we as staff branched out to working remotely while ensuring that we were still able to meet student needs in a timely manner.

Creativity, innovation, and flexibility have been our watchwords. We’ve added masks and PPE bundles to our product offerings, including online.

We tweaked the store layout to allow for physical distancing. Rather than students browsinge for textbooks, they give us the course code for what they’re looking for and we hand them the material over the counter. With some students doing remote learning this year, we’ve been mailing textbooks to them. 

With Post & Print, we added curbside pickup, especially for deliveries to departments. And we try to take orders in any fashion — email, online, phone — to meet our customers’ needs, safely.

Deia Christner and Jan Perrault

In the Registrar’s Office, Deia Christner is a service specialist and Jan Perreault a records specialist. As their titles imply, they help bring order to a torrent of academic records generated by a college: course schedules and grades, classroom scheduling, enrollment data, questions from all corners of the Bates community, including transcript requests from alumni.

Jan Perreault and Deia Christner
Jan Perreault and Deia Christner

We have not been able to open our doors for students to simply walk in and ask questions. We do most of our work from our homes, interacting with students through email and phone, coming into the office a couple of times a week to take care of some work that we can’t do from home.

Last fall was a learning experience for everyone. We are amazed at how everyone at Bates came together to make things work during a time when so many things were uncertain. The students did a great job at adapting to all the changes too! 

Mostly, students needed our help and support to understand the new module system. Under the modules, instead of taking four semester-long courses, students took two courses — meeting twice as many hours each week — for half the semester, then two more courses for the second half. There were more email exchanges than normal, but we were able to get through it. 

Due to the pandemic, we’ve made it possible for students to fill out more of their forms electronically, rather than by handing in hard copies. We’re making information more accessible and our processes easier to complete. So, that’s been one good thing. 

We’re always happy to answer questions and give support wherever we can. We really miss working with students in the office. We are hoping that things return to normal soon!

Rick McQueeney

Rick McQueeney is behind the wheel most days as a Bates Bobcat Express driver, helping students access places and services off campus as they need, from medical appointments to shopping excursions.

Rick McQueeney
Rick McQueeney

In the shuttle, some students like to talk, and others less so. It’s like everywhere else in this world: Everybody has their own comfort zone of reaching out. I’ve talked to students from every continent, but Antarctica!

It’s amazing what they’ve gone through and how they’ve gotten here. I learned that some students from Lithuania or Estonia got to Bates through China. Wow, what a trip!

Sometimes they just want somebody to talk to. We’re not really in a position of authority, so we’re just someone they can share concerns with or look to for advice or an opinion. 

My wife and I have gardens at home, and I brought in garden produce for students to use in their cooking. I had a gentleman from Pakistan that was complaining about not having any hot peppers. I love hot peppers! I brought him home-canned peppers and some very hot peppers that my wife and I had grown over the summer for him to use.

I’ve really missed meeting students who go into the community through the Harward Center. I really got to know some of them. I’m still in contact with some; I like to see what they’re doing now.

I can say out of all this, the one thing about working here at Bates and meeting these students is, they’ve renewed my faith in what the future’s going to be like.

View Comments