When fondly reminiscing about on-campus life, many Seaver students reflected on interactions with Pepperdine staff.
With all the changes happening at the University as we return to campus — including new departments, new faces and new guidelines to follow — there is comfort in knowing that many of these familiar individuals have also come back to Pepperdine.
For example, some students, such as senior Michael Kadlick, expressed excitement over seeing Sami Bahhur again, who is known to students as Sami from the HAWC.
“I get nothing but good vibes back from him,” Kadlick said. “They just radiate from him — like I can trust I can go to the HAWC late at night, and I can trust that I’m going to get a good dish, great customer service and just overall a fantastic experience.”
Bahhur said it feels good to return to work at Pepperdine.
“It’s really a nice atmosphere to work here, and I enjoy it,” Bahhur said. “I’m glad to be back; I missed the students too, real good students, all of them. They’re all friendly and respectful.”
Another Dining Facilities staff member some students have remembered fondly is Rico Soto, who used to work at the deli in the Caf but currently works at the Starbucks on campus.
“My go-to meal from the Caf during lunch used to be the sandwich Iine, and Rico always would just chat with me — and one time, he talked to me about his surfing experience, which is so precious, and I just will always remember it,” junior Katie Price said.
Soto said after a year full of challenges, hope and faith are what brought him back to Pepperdine. He is happy to see the same people he saw years prior as well as new faces.
“I missed this job,” Soto said. “I was out for like a year and a half, so it feels good to be back and feels good to see everybody back.”
For junior Sammie Wuensche, one of the many Pepperdine staff she felt happy to see included DPS officers at the gates to the Malibu campus.
“It was really nice when I came back and saw DPS officers like [Officer Alex] Valencia, who still were excited to see me and are just so welcoming,” Wuensche said. “Every time when I come through the gates, he remembers my name, asks me how I’m doing, and it’s so cool that at Pepperdine, even some of the more background people that work here care about the students and remember them and are so welcoming.”
The times when we find ourselves with a free moment — in the HAWC hanging out, at the Caf eating a meal or in a car entering campus — can be seen as brief and inconsequential but are instead meaningful because of the individuals we get to see and interact with.
I also want to recognize that there are so many other Pepperdine staff who have helped make this campus feel like home as well, including the people who work at Campus Recreation, the Counseling Center, OneStop, Payson Library, Housing and Residence Life, Department of Facilities Services and many more.
During a time of some anxiety over returning to a full campus after not having been around many people during quarantine, it’s great to see so many friendly faces who help make that transition easier.
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