20 PolyTrends | WINTER | SPRING | 2014
By Carly Owens
Jennifer Ramirez was on the verge of dropping out. It was the middl...
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PolyTrends Winter Spring 2014 12

Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - PolyTrends Winter Spring 2014 12

  • 1. 20 PolyTrends | WINTER | SPRING | 2014 By Carly Owens Jennifer Ramirez was on the verge of dropping out. It was the middle of midterms, and the pressure in her family life was making her doubt her future at Cal Poly Pomona. That’s when Reggie Keys and Sam Berry arrived. It wasn’t anything outside the ordinary for the two custodians in University Housing to stop by the office where Ramirez worked, but the visit proved pivotal for the liberal arts student, who had set a goal of becoming a teacher. “I told them, ‘You know, I’m not having a good day,’ and Sam asked, ‘What do you mean you’re not having a good day?’ I explained what was happening, and he told me, ‘Jennifer, think about this for a moment. Think about how many kids are going to miss out if you don’t become a teacher.’ It was the most eye-opening thing. I realized I’d be a statistic. I realized if I’m going to go do something, I need to work for it. That’s the one thing Reggie and Sam always taught me.” Keys and Berry, who work in the suites, are widely known among students and staff for their friendly and caring nature, which is borne out in their quiet support of higher education. Their goal is simple: Make students as comfortable as possible while they are on campus. With this in mind, the two go out of their way to build friendships. More than a dozen years ago, a coworker invited the pair to join the Black Faculty & Staff Association. Membership included making a donation toward the group’s scholarship fund. Keys and Berry were happy to oblige, opting for a payroll deduction of $5 per month. “Whatever kind of money I can give that will help further education, that’s fine with me,” Berry says. Keys concurs. “With us being custodians, our funds were limited. But like Sam said, we were willing to put forth that small amount in the hopes that it may do some good. We weren’t doing it for any ‘stand out among the workers’ thing. It was just something that needed to be done at the time.” Chelsea Navarro, interim area coordinator for two of the suites complexes, calls Keys and Berry the Dynamic Duo. “Sam is a bit more of the witty, humorous one, and Reggie is just pure love,” she says. “Almost every day I see Reggie, and he always says, ‘Beautiful day!’ and I reply, ‘Yes it is!’ and he says, ‘Beautiful day for a beautiful lady.’ He just makes my day. Keys, who has served the campus for 28 years, was on the hiring committee when Berry came aboard. They clicked almost immediately. “I saw him to be dedicated, but not so serious that he couldn’t have fun,” Keys says. “Reggie showed me around campus my first day here,” Berry says. “That’s when our friendship started.” That friendship extends beyond the campus, especially on fishing trips they take together. Both are easy to laugh, and their camaraderie is hard to miss. With their laid-back, friendly personalities, the two have created a sense of family and community on campus. Both have families and children of their own, and they recognize that for most student residents, this is their first experience living away from home. “It’s important to the students to know there’s someone they can go to if they need something,” Keys says. “They come in as kids and leave as educated adults.” That road to adulthood can be rocky, but sometimes all a student needs to succeed is a kind word or a smile, something small but significant. Keys and Berry show it’s often the little things that count. “Do what you can — just do something,” Berry says. “Even if it’s volunteering, help out in any way possible,” Keys says. “Something is better than nothing. If you have the time and whatever resources that you can, put it toward someone’s education. It’s really a blessing, especially for those who need it, especially in this economy.” Longtime custodians REGGIE KEYS and SAM BERRY take caring to another level ADVANCING THE UNIVERSITY ‘Do What YOU CAN’ This is our opportunity. College of Business Administration CAMPAIGN UPDATE Faculty/Staff Campaign Campus Community Steps Up to Give Faculty and staff are significant stakeholders in any effort to advance the university, which is why Cal Poly Pomona has launched a campaign to encourage and recognize their giving. “It’s not so much the amount someone gives, it’s that we encourage a culture of giving,” says Dolores Ybarra, director of the Annual Fund. “Also, we want to recognize those who have provided consistent support, such as Reggie Keys and Sam Berry. You might be surprised at how many people want to make a difference.” To see some of the faculty and staff who have made supporting the university a part of their lives, visit http://bit.ly/1gGJMTo. ReggieKeysandSamBerry makeadifferenceeveryday.

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