If you want to know about the student body at UNC Greensboro, just ask Brenda Joyce.
A cashier at UNCG’s Fountain View Dining Hall, “Ms. Brenda” interacts with students more than just about any professor, academic adviser or residence hall staff member.
She sees many Spartans – particularly first-year students and those who live on campus – twice a day, every day.
It’s this close interaction with students that keeps her passion for her work alive.
“This is a loving student body, a hardworking student body,” she said. “These are some of the smartest young people I know. They have respect for their professors and their fellow students. They’re divided on some issues, but they are able to accept people for who they are.”
Joyce views her position as an opportunity to make a significant impact in the lives of students. She goes beyond excellent customer service. Joyce’s goal is to support and encourage students in their educational endeavors, whatever they may be.
“I want them to feel that what they’re doing is important and has a benefit,” she said. “I want them to know that they can come see me anytime. That they don’t have to struggle on their own.”
Over the course of her 12 years at UNCG, Joyce has befriended countless students. And the stories are endless.
There’s the couple that she introduced, that is now happily married.
The Ms. Brenda meme that circulated on Twitter.
The student outcry when she accidently forgot to bring Humphrey the Camel – a beloved stuffed animal – on “Hump Day.”
Spend just 10 minutes in the dining hall, and you’ll get a sense of the strong relationships she’s built with students. She has a steady flow of Spartans stopping by the cash register to say hello and strike up a conversation. During her lunch break, it’s not unusual for students to join her at the table.
Once they graduate, many stay in touch on Facebook. For Joyce, they’re so much more than former customers or UNCG alumni. They’re part of the family.
“I feel just as proud of them as I do of my own children,” she said. “I love them to pieces because they give me an opportunity to sit in on their lives. For me, this position is so much more than a job – it’s all of my passions together, in one place.”
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications
Videography by Grant Gilliard, University Communications