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The Daily Tar Heel

Charina Brooks ?nds happiness in her residents

UNC Housekeeper Charina Brooks, 42, during her lunch hour.

To housekeeper Charina Brooks, even the slightest of a smile from a resident can make her day.

Brooks, a 42-year-old UNC housekeeper for Grimes, Mangum and Manly residence halls, said the relationships she builds with student residents mean a great deal to her.

“You wouldn’t believe how many Facebook friends I have who study here at UNC,” Brooks said.

“Maybe sometimes students know me better than my coworkers.”

In light of International Housekeepers Week, which spans from Sept. 9-15, Brooks said she has been thinking of ways students could make all housekeepers’ jobs easier.

Brooks said students should become more aware of the messes they make in the kitchen and the personal items they leave behind in bathrooms.

While Brooks said she believes she is respected by many residents, she wishes all students knew the weight their actions carry.

She was inspired to write a letter to the editor for The Daily Tar Heel — one which she hopes will boost morale among fellow housekeepers.

Marilyn Couch, Brooks’ coworker and a Kenan Community housekeeper, said she appreciated the letter to the editor and believes Brooks is a motivational person.

“It was very good the way she explained stuff and spoke about what students can do (to help),” Couch said.

Brooks received a degree in computer science in the Philippines, her home country. But she began working at the University in 2009 after her husband was laid off from work.

“I said, ‘Oh Lord, give me any job ­— just any job ­— because I don’t want to lose the house,’” Brooks said.

While her pay check is still the family’s sole source of income, Brooks said she is thankful to be employed.

“I have no complaints — I have no regrets about this job,” Brooks said.

Brooks remains positive about her position with Housekeeping Services, but the department has been a subject of contention in the past few years, after other employees brought several complaints, prompting reform.

The department hired a new director in April and has had its policies undergo extensive review to combat the issues.

Karol Kain Gray, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said she hopes recent reform imposed on Housekeeping Services will demonstrate the University’s commitment to the housekeeping staff.

“(Housekeepers) are integral to the University and who we are and who we represent,” Gray said.

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