The Hidden Heroes of Marshall University
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Through the student-led organization, Hidden Heroes, some Marshall University students are seeking and finding ways to honor Marshall staff members who typically go unrecognized.
“We are an organization that we just started out and we’re focused on appreciating all of the underappreciated employees on campus,” the organization’s founding president, Megan Conley, said. “Now we’re talking our dining hall workers, our groundskeepers, our maintenance men, janitors, the people that go out of the university’s eye kind of, they’re kind of hidden, that if they stopped doing their job one day this university would shut down.”
Conley said the organization is planning on doing little things throughout the year such as supplying a particular staff member with a gift card. The Hidden Heroes founding vice president, Ashley Brock, said the organization wants to let the workers know that students appreciate the amount of work the staff puts in.
“A lot of times we don’t show how much we appreciate or even say thank you enough,” Brock said. “We want to show them we really do care about them.”
Hidden Heroes is planning on having a hidden hero surprise squad as part of the organization. The surprise squad will be the group that delivers the gift cards and prizes to the selected staff members.
“We’re going to try to pick at least one to two employees per like every 30 days, every month or so, and just do little things for them,” Conley said.
Conley said along with giving particular staff members gift cards, the organization is hoping to host a hidden hero day where students can write notes to staff members and let them know they are appreciated. The organization is also hoping to host a dinner for the Marshall staff.
“We want this dinner to be student served, so we’re looking, you know, obviously for students that are willing to step up to the plate and say we know your hard work, we want to appreciate you, and we want to serve all of these faculty members that I mentioned before and we want to really just show them how much we appreciate them,” Conley said.
Hidden Heroes is a relatively new organization at Marshall University. Conley said the organization unofficially began around October and then officially started around the beginning of January.
“I decided to found this because I came here as a freshman, I’m a freshman, and I had UNI 100, and our professor had talked to us, you know, he said, ‘Hey, you know, give an extra thank you every now and then to the people around here, they do a lot.’ And I was like, you know what, my mom raised me to be an appreciative person,” Conley said. “I was here two weeks and I just started looking around. I was sitting in the student center and there’s this dining hall worker, his name was Anderson, and his job is to empty the trash and, you know, that’s about all he does. He empties the trash and wipes off tables, and he was going above and beyond for me and my friends and I was seeing him go to other people’s tables.”
Conley said seeing one worker go above and beyond made her realize all that the staff members do on every part of campus. Brock, knowing Conley from class, decided to join her to help create the organization.
“Megan and I had classes together and she came and told me about the idea because we’d been talking in class, and she was like, ‘I don’t know if we can do this, what do you think?’ and I had the administrative background to handle something like this, and I believed in her ideas, and I just thought these people are so nice to us,” Brock said. “Little freshmen come in the first week scared, no parents anymore and those people give you a smile in the cafeteria. They ask you how you’re doing. They take such good care of us and we don’t say thank you enough, so I fully believed in her idea and I want to see it become a thing.”
Conley said that her being a Christian is what helped her come up with the name Hidden Heroes for the organization.
“There’s this gospel song called ‘Hidden Heroes,’ and it talks kind of about how these people go out of their way, and you know that they’re really kind of God’s hidden heroes,” Conley said.
Conley said while the only branch of Hidden Heroes is at Marshall, she hopes the organization will grow to a much larger scale.
“We did speak with Matt Jarvis, our student president, and he’s wanting to get involved as well, so hopefully we can get in with him and really make something that’s unified here at Marshall,” Conley said.
Conley is wanting to do more with the organization and support staff members in bigger ways than they are already doing.
“We could buy their kids [gifts] for Christmas, or maybe find an employee that doesn’t have a vehicle, because several of our employees are riding their bicycles, maybe give them a vehicle,” Conley said. “Like, I know this sounds really huge right now, but if we can grow this organization to the capacity that I want it to reach, this will not be impossible.”
Hidden Heroes meets every Monday at 5 p.m. in room 2W10 in Marshall’s Memorial Student Center.
Matthew Groves can be contacted at [email protected]