DePaul University Newsline > Multimedia > DePaul's Heroes: On-Campus Staff 'In Their Own Words'

DePaul's Heroes: On-Campus Staff 'In Their Own Words'

May 19, 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic transformed what would have been just another spring quarter to the historic Spring Quarantine Quarter of 2020. With great effort and speed, the university's in-person operation was modified to a community of remote learners, teachers and workers, with almost every university function, duty and responsibility adapted to be performed virtually in order to mind social distancing guidelines. 

But not every staff member can join a Zoom meeting, jump on a conference call or sit in front of a laptop to do their job. While most are working, teaching or learning from home, the university's on-campus workers, our DePaul heroes, continue to head into the office to manage current campus operations and prepare for when we can return to Lincoln Park and the Loop.

From a safe distance, Newsline caught up with some of our on-campus staff members on April 21, before the Illinois mask order went into effect, to see how the COVID-19 crisis has changed life on the university grounds and  to learn “in their own words" what it's been like for them during this unprecedented time in DePaul's history.


Aurora Chavez

"We are blessed that we have jobs, and we are still working," Aurora Chavez, custodian.

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Wally Rabenda

"This is part of history, and I'm doing the task that we're supposed to be doing out here on the front lines, and I'm doing the best I can," Wally Rabenda, custodian.

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Danny Cruz

"I’m sure there will be changes, but I can’t wait for our students to come back," Danny Cruz, custodian.

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Jimmy Socco

"Like all of us, we want to go back to our regular life," Jimmy Socco, custodian.

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Mailing and Print Services

"It's overwhelming to say the least. I'm hopeful things are going to turn around," Sue Arenz, manager of Print and Mailing Services.

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Facilities Operations, Loop Campus

"We have to do certain things to have the building prepared for when people return to campus, for when life returns to campus," Vernon Crowder, custodian.

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Raquel Esparza

As a staff member, alum, SCPS graduate student and proud parent of a graduating CDM student, I have embraced this opportunity to stay connected with the DePaul community," Raquel Esparza, Public Safety officer.

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Kyle Janis

"I want to show appreciation for everyone who has put in extra hours to make DePaul as prepared as possible," Kyle Janis, assistant director of Events and Conference Services.

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Taylore Mountain and Latoya Clark

"Since the residence halls are now empty, we have the opportunity to begin our summer work early," Latoya Clark, facilities project coordinator.

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Jerry Lucas

"This unique time at DePaul has made me realize that some things are out of my control, and I’ve made the conscious decision to not let that worry me," Jerry Lucas, Public Safety officer.

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Victor Lopez Jr

"My job has not changed much, other than not interacting with students, faculty and staff," Victor Lopez Jr., Public Safety officer.

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Veronica Avila

"It's been hard for me to adapt to not seeing our students on campus," Veronica Avila, custodian.

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