Offering students encouragement to make them feel at home

Yoly Rios works at Fresh Market Café in Global Scholars Hall

Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Yoly Rios
Cashier, Fresh Marketcafé

How long have you worked at the UO?

It will be nine years at the end of this month.

Tell us about your work:

My primary job is being a cashier, but I also assist other employees in the dining area as well. Talking with the students that come by always makes me so happy. That’s the fun part of my job. I do it from my heart, year after year.

What does your typical day look like?

I start my day by cleaning the dining area prior to the students getting there. Afterward, I open my till to assist the students with their purchases. The only thing that’s different now is the pace of work, which has slowed down. I don't get to interact with the students as much as I used to and I miss that. It's sad that I'm not able to see their faces and talk to them more. Right now, they scan their own items so it's hard to engage in conversation. I like doing my job though and I enjoy giving support to the students especially when they come in the morning.

When I see them sad, I always go, “Hey, what’s up sweetie?” They open up to me and I can make them feel better by telling them good things. They always say that I make them feel better every day. That’s what I am most proud of. I used to do High Five Fridays every week, which we can’t do anymore for now. I miss the big groups of students sitting at the tables, laughing, talking, and sometimes singing happy birthday. There used to be so much happiness and positive energy, so that is what I miss most.

What do you like about working at the UO?

I like talking to the students because I get to know more about the variety of people that come by. I also love trying to make their days brighter by relieving any of the stress they may be feeling for whatever reason. I try to reassure them by saying something good. I encourage them to do positive things like taking breaks and going outside to get fresh air. Because I interact with them frequently, I can see those things.

What keeps you motivated?

I would say that I like to be there for students who may not have anyone else to turn to. It's hard to explain, but I want to be here for these students and make them feel like they’re at home. I’m like a mother because I want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe.

What is something people may not know about you?

When people ask me how I manage my stress, I say that I come to work because I can forget everything else when I’m here with these students. I can laugh, cry, and help them because it makes me feel good. That’s why I never request my birthday off. When I’m here with the students, I feel like this is the family that I want around. I like working here because I enjoy the positive energy that it brings. I love my job, that’s really all I can tell you.

Yoly Rios is part of University Housing.

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