Small details with a big impact


The Weber School after completion in 2006. (Silverman Construction Program Management)

Small details are the things the Weber community might take for granted, but can have a remarkably big impact. The cleanliness, maintenance, and sustainability of the school are some of those topics, especially because we all spend most of our days in and around the building. There have always been a wide range of opinions on certain features around the building, specifically the Etz and the air conditioning. With two-thirds of the school year passed, The RamPage decided to look forward to next year for any changes that might be made or to be expected.

After a series of interviews, a wide variety of not only suggestions, but opinions and complaints on the cleanliness, maintenance, and sustainability of the school building were expressed by both students and teachers, when asked what they’d like to be improved in the future, as well as what they like and dislike now.

What feedback do you have about maintenance at Weber?
Graphic created by Sam Halpern

The Etz is a particular area of concern, as it is heavily used by students in between classes and during X blocks. Students often leave behind belongings, sometime including everything from textbooks to food to clothing. Senior Ben La Kier thinks “the Etz is a little unclean [and] seems messy.”

One sophomore went even further, saying, “the Etz is filthy. I think we need new carpet installed in there and possibly some new lockers—with a little more space.” While the lockers probably won’t change, the carpet and the general cleanliness of the Etz can. But Rachel Zebrak,

Weber’s Operations and Logistics Manager, says that keeping the building clean has to be a group effort. “If you leave a drink and it spills and stains the carpet, don’t just leave it. Go tell somebody so we can get it up right away. [Students] need to be cognizant of [their] contribution to the mess.” Otherwise, she says, it’s left for the night cleaning crew, who have over 100,000 square feet to clean. Furthermore, replacing the carpet before a better ‘group effort’ exists might be a waste of time and money for the school.

“If you leave a drink and it spills and stains the carpet, don’t just leave it. Go tell somebody so we can get it up right away. [Students] need to be cognizant of [their] contribution to the mess.”

When asked for how the school might engage students more, Zebrak referred to sustainability initiatives such as recycling and taking responsibility. Referring to Dane Butler and Ozzy Veliz, the school’s facilities team, Zebrak remarked, “Dane and Ozzy are a great team, but aren’t here to bring someone’s paper plate to the garbage can when [the student is] less than four feet from the garbage can.” She declined to specify any maintenance, cleaning or sustainability changes that might be expected for later this semester or next year.

Some recent improvements that might give hints to future changes have included the addition of “water bottle fillers” on the water fountains, the elimination of paper place-mats in the cafeteria, and the transition to gender neutral restrooms on the first floor. The last change is what resonated the most with Dr. Kevin Goldberg. “The inclusion of the gender neutral bathrooms—it’s a nice addition. It shows the school has social awareness.”

When asked, Rabbi Pamela Gottfried, Dean of Jewish Studies and Student Life, stated that there aren’t any current sustainability-related improvements planned for next year because any future changes will be based on and led by student initiative. If students are interested in starting a sustainability initiative at Weber, she encourages them to come up with a proposal and talk to her about it.

Note: The school’s temperature (hot versus cold), as mentioned by some students, is a different topic that was not primarily discussed, and, subsequently, not included in this article.

Quotes edited for conciseness and clarity.

UPDATED 11/5/17 to reflect adherence to the AP Stylebook, journalistic formatting and third-person voice.