Gladys Lopez may be a part of Facilities Management, but she is also part of the Fairbanks Building Team. Two and one half years ago Gladys joined Rollins College as the 170 W. Fairbanks Building was opening, after being newly renovated. With this move came the departments of communication, critical media & cultural studies/film studies, legal studies, strategic marketing, public relations, career services and four student classrooms.
I was the first to meet Gladys, and we teamed up to make sure things were coming together with the department moves. It was quite a chore, and for over a year, we were still unpacking boxes and throwing out stuff that had accummulated over the years. Now was the perfect time to purge things.
It was a little bit of a challenge at first for us as Gladys moved from Columbia to Orlando in 2006, and knew no English. I took three years of spanish a few decades ago, so I set out to brush up on my bilingual skills. I could see that "que pasa", and "yo quiero Taco Bell" would not cut it! I purchased a calendar that gave both english and spanish versions of phrases with pictures. Every day for the first year, we would greet each other in the morning, and read the phrase together. Some were pretty amusing, some we would never want to use, and some I could not explain to her. But, most of the phrases were useful. Together, we educated each other. Sure, we still need to resort to nonverbal cues and listening closely; skills that a communication department knows well.
Gladys is married with three children. She also has a sister, Gloria Lopez, that works at Rollins in Facilities Management. I thought maybe I had misunderstood her when she said her sister's last name was also Lopez. No, Gladys says that in Columbia, the daughters keep their father's last name. Gladys likes to read, and watch comedy movies in her spare time. She is patient, kind, and we have enjoyed having her on our team at 170 W. Fairbanks.
by Sherry Lewis
Department of Communication, Legal Studies,
Critical Media & Cultural Studies/Film Studies
July 14, 2010