Wonder Workers: Our Custodial Staff

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 2.3 million janitors in the U.S. today. Unfortunately, because custodial work is “behind the scenes” it often goes unappreciated. Yet, custodial work is often very difficult and is vital the success of all public buildings. Colleges, stores, and hospitals depend on their custodial staff for their daily operations. Today, October 2nd, is National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day; if you see a custodian around campus, show your appreciation!

Unknown to many, our custodial staff workers are pretty cool. Check out this Q&A with Charles VanMaldeghem, a Building Services Supervisor. Charles is known for implementing robotic equipment into his work and takes great strides to enhance his team’s custodial operations at RIT.

How long have you been the Building Services Supervisor at RIT? 
“I have been at RIT for 13 years. I oversee 13 custodial staff mainly over in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences as well as the Bausch and Lomb Center.”

What is the toughest part about being a custodian?
“It’s very routine, mundane. It’s the same thing day after day. So, we try to develop methods and procedures that alleviate some of the most strenuous portion of the job: automated and in some cases in the robotics. We are able to have machinery doing a lot of that heavy work that is fatiguing to the staff. It eliminates some of the injuries and potential problems with that.”

Do you find this job to be rewarding?
“Absolutely. Last week we hadthe inauguration and the tours that were associated with that. A large number of people came through our building. So having the place look really nice and the floors looking clean and shiny, and restrooms clean and presentable and appealing is important, and we get great rewards off of the feedback we get from those.”

Custodial work is often “behind the scenes.” Do you think people take your work for granted or are very appreciative of the work you do?
“I often see a lot of positive feedback from the faculty staff and from students as well. Our custodians, because we are here during the day, develop those relationships with individuals. A lot of my staff has great connections with RIT staff and our students because they see them everyday.”

Why did you decide to go into the custodial workforce?
“I started very young in high school. Actually, before that I worked for my father cleaning his offices at the age of 12. As asupervisor, I feel my job is to further develop individuals because I know the business and I know the individuals. I get great reward out of enhancing their lives and making them better.”

Why do you think National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day is so important?
“Having been in it for 40 years, I like to make sure I am appreciating my staff everyday. I don’t try to limit it to one day out of the year, but the recognition that the staff get from people appreciating what they do on a daily basis I think is important.”

Be sure to thank the next custoidal worker you see, and share your apprciation on social media by tagging us at Behind the Bricks, along with the hastag #RITBTB. On behalf of Behind the Bricks, thank you to all RIT custodial workers as well as Facilities Management Services, for keeping our campus clean and beautiful. Happy National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day!

The Pride Project at RIT

The first thing you see when entering the Student Alumni Union (SAU) is a big rainbow flag with a panel besides it that states, “The Rainbow or Pride flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker as a symbol of unity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This flag is raised to honor past, present, and future gender and sexual minorities at RIT, as well as the allies who support them.”

The Pride Flag installation in the SAU

As years progressed, this flag became a normal part of RIT life; greeting everyone who walked into the SAU with vibrant rainbow colors. It is the simple act of installing this flag that has spoken for RIT’s inclusive community, which was the vision Dr. Chris Henry Hinesley, the person who successfully led the Pride Project with the help of the RIT community.


Dr. Chris Henry Hinesley

The idea came to him after admiring the many flags that hang in the SAU in 2011. “I realized there wasn’t a Pride flag and started asking questions,” says Dr. Hinesley. The questions traveled, as many did not know how to answer such a question. This wasn’t something thought of before, but Dr. Hinesley persisted.

Eventually, this idea made it’s way to Carol Reed who streamlined it right to the Campus Aesthetics Committee. “It was perfect timing as the space was already going to be cleared,” mentioned Dr. Hinesley. He envisioned a small flag in a glass case to ensure it was protected from vandalism and theft, but the committee insisted on something bigger with no case.

In a time where LGBTQIA identities were accepted but still a difficult discussion, Dr. Hinesley worried about the response to this flag being put up. However, in the time since, he never heard anything bad about it. In fact, he’s known it to be a beneficial presence for current and future students. On the impact of students, Dr. Hinesley remembers, “students telling me when they saw the flag during campus visits, they immediately transferred or decided to come here.”

First visions of the Pride flag in the SAU

Since the flag has been installed, the LGBTQIA community at RIT has seen great change. A leader and an advocate, Dr. Hinesley finds himself busy working with departments across campus to ensure proper protocol is in place to respect the identity of students, faculty and staff. Adding preferred names into the system, creating gender inclusive bathrooms, and SafeZone training for over 1,000 people every year is just some of the ways RIT is creating a more inclusive environment for the community.

Throughout his time at RIT, Dr. Hinesley was most pleased by how supportive and open RIT is when it comes to implementing change that positively impacts LGBTQIA students. “There are a number of times where faculty and staff would approach me with questions to ensure they’re doing the right thing.” This attitude is what inspired the creation of Q Center Advisory Team (QCAT), where faculty from all across RIT can become more involved with the center. A complete list of those on the advisory can be found here.

As Pride Month continues, the flag in the SAU serves as a reminder to the kind of campus RIT is; one that strives for diversity and inclusiveness in its function and community.


What’s Happening Around RIT This Summer?

Are you going to be on or around campus this summer? Don’t worry. Just because the academic year won’t be in full swing doesn’t mean Rochester Institute of Technology won’t have plenty going on. We’ve compiled a list of things happening on and off campus this summer to keep you busy. Check it out!

JDRF One Walk: Sunday, June 11, 2017 JDRF

JDRF One Walk occurs throughout the year in over 200 different locations. The goal of the walk is to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes, and raise funds for further research. The event is scheduled to run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., starting at the Gordon Field House and surrounding campus roadways. This is a great way to give back to your Rochester community!

Student Life CenterGym

Has the hustle and bustle of the semester prevented you from sticking to your fitness goals? Well, summer is the perfect time to get right back on track. The Student Life Center remains available to students between the spring and fall semester. For summer hours and more info, visit here!

Take advantage of RIT’s hiking and walking trailsHiking

Did you know our university is packed with hiking and walking trails? They all vary in length and scenery. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of these hidden trails. Take a peek at our article for more information.

ZenVisit the RIT Zen Garden

It’s hard to stay zen when you have three exams, two papers, and five homework assignments all due in one week. Now that summer is here, try and take some time to relax. RIT’s Zen Garden is located to the left of the Eastman building, and is a great place to catch up on a book. Bring a friend, or take in the beauty by yourself!

Rochester Lilac Festival: May 12-21Lilac

There are only a few days left in the Rochester Lilac Festival, so be sure to get over to Highland Park! This festival is a great kick off to summer, and includes great food, live music, and beautiful lilacs, of course!

GardenVisit the RIT Community Garden

This is another area of RIT that many students don’t know about. The RIT Community Garden is located behind the Tennis Courts (next to the Gene Polisseni Center). If looking at the garden isn’t enough for you, there are various opportunities available to get involved. To learn more about summer opportunities to give back to the RIT community, visit the RIT Community Garden’s Facebook page.

Throw a BBQBBQ

There are plenty of stationary grills located just outside of Grace Watson Hall. This secluded area is great for hosting a get together, while enjoying some grilled food. Before firing up the grill, ensure you are taking the proper safety precautions.

Park AvePark Avenue Summer Arts Festival: August 5-6

August 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Park Avenue Summer Arts Fest truly showcases Rochester culture. The festival features over 300 artists, vendors, and exhibitors from all over the United States. It’s worth the drive over! Learn more about the festival here!

Whether you are taking summer classes, completing an internship in Rochester, or just hanging around the area for summer, take advantage of the happenings around Rochester Institute of Technology’s campus! From all of us here at Behind the Bricks, have a great summer!

An Introductory Guide to the Wallace Library


If you have never spent an appreciable amount of time walking around it, the Wallace Library can seem like a daunting place. And let’s face it, most of us rarely venture past Java’s, and if we do it’s for the odd group project or because a professor required a print source for a research paper. It gets easy to think of the library as more of a spot to nap than an actual resource. However, the Wallace Library is far from an outdated, labyrinthine building blocking the view from Liberal Arts Hall. The library has a wealth of information and resources for the RIT community, especially with finals coming up.



Most of your time in the library basement is probably going to be spent staying out of the cold. The A-Level of the Wallace Library consists chiefly of tunnels and offices, with such attractions as the Sportzone office, thesis binding, Production Services, and classroom A400. The Liberal Arts and Library tunnels connect and can be difficult to tell apart (thankfully we already have a guide for that).

IMG_2231First Floor

The first floor of the library is a hub of activity. This is one of the most popular areas of the library for group work, since it does not have the noise restrictions that the upper floors do (within reason). The first floor is also home to Java Wally’s, your friendly neighborhood coffee shop.

Second Floor

The second floor houses the Cary Graphic Design Collection, a number of books, and a few tables. The second floor is a quieter floor, but you are able to do group work at a lower volume.

Third Floor

This floor is a quiet floor, so it’s best for individual study. You are allowed some noise, but it’s better to keep your headphones on.

Fourth Floor

The Fourth Floor is the smallest floor in the library, and is best suited for individual work. It is a silent floor, meaning there is no talking aloud. There are several tables and individual cubbies you can use for individual study. This is where you should go when you want absolutely no distractions.



There are many resources in the library that are available to all students, and they go way beyond books. One such service is the ability to sign out a laptop for up to 4 hours. The library has 38 Windows and 10 Apple laptops available, which can be taken anywhere on campus. This may not be much time for homework or doing an entire project, but it’s a lifesaver for presentations and in class activities that require a computer. It’s easy to do, too. All that you need to do is present your RIT ID and a photo ID (such as a driver’s licence or passport), state your preference of Mac or PC, and off you go. Best of all, there is no guesswork with knowing if a machine is available. An up to date count is available right on the Wallace Library main webpage.  

In House Resources

Going to the library gives you access to a number a resources. While you can gain access to many of them online, there are plenty more in person.

Study Room Reservations

You can reserve study rooms throughout the library. These rooms come in 1-3 and 4-8 person sizes. These rooms often include white boards and have plenty of outlets, so they are ideal for group projects.


There are a number of places to print and scan documents in the Wallace Library, mostly on the First and Second Floors. Be aware some printing services will require you to pay.


Of course, possibly the greatest resource available at the RIT library are the Librarians. There are a total of 9 librarians at the Wallace Library with various specializations, from NTID to Engineering to Liberal Arts. The Librarians have offices in the Wallace Library and are usually there during standard business hours.


Writing Commons

If you want to better your writing, the Wallace Library is home to the Writing Commons, a service dedicated to helping RIT students improve their writing skills. It’s located on the first floor of the Wallace Library and appointments are available.

Online Resources

On top of all the physical resources available at the library, the Wallace Library hosts a wealth of information online. You may be familiar with the database search function, where you can peruse a number of online databases for scholarly resources. However, there are many things you can do through the main library website beyond research.


The RIT library gives you access to a number of specialized databases, with access to a wealth of information. This is great for that research paper you’ve been putting off, since the database selection can get you every possible academic source imaginable. Which is much more legitimate than Wikipedia.IMG_2230


Like most libraries, you are able to search the RIT book catalog online. You can see the location, availability, and even due date if it’s checked out.

IMG_2225All in all, the RIT Wallace Library is an amazing resource for RIT students. Let’s be honest, we tell ourselves that libraries are an outdated thing and there is no reason to walk around a big musty building full of books and shooshing. The Wallace Library is far from that Hollywood portrayal you may have in your head. It is a place of learning, a place to gather information, and most of all, a vital part of an RIT education.

Meet Your SG President & Vice President


Voting has ended and the Tigers have spoken! Farid Barquet and Bobby Moakley have been elected as next year’s Student Government President and Vice President respectively. I asked Farid and Bobby a few questions about themselves and their platform so you can get to know them a little better.

Student Government’s new president Farid is a 3rd year Biotech and Biomedical Sciences major from Mexico City. I asked Farid how he ended up all the way in Rochester, NY.

“I knew I wanted to major in Biotechnology, and I didn’t know of any schools that offered the program. I Googled ‘schools with Biotechnology programs’ and I found that RIT was the first school to offer Biotech as a major. I thought that was really cool, and after I came and visited campus I was convinced that this is where I wanted to be.”

Farid has a very busy schedule so naturally I was curious about what he does when he’s not working, in class, or studying.

“Taking a nap most likely. Or playing the piano in the Fireside lounge. If I’m at home, probably watching Friends.”

I think we all can relate.

Becoming SG President is a huge commitment and I had to know Farid’s reasoning for running.

“Having been a part of Student Government for the past two years, I have seen the impact that SG can actually have on this campus, and I want to continue the efforts that were started by the previous administrations. RIT has given me so much, and I want to give back by helping other students be as happy and successful as I have been in my time here.”

I’ve always wondered what somebody does after they find out that they’ve won an election. I  was a little surprised by Farid’s response. “I called my parents. And then I went home and took a nap. Campaigning week was incredibly stressful, and in the end I just wanted to relax before my new responsibilities started.”

But again, I think many of us can relate.

Next up is our SG Vice President, Bobby Moakley. Bobby is a 2nd year Environmental Science and Global Studies major from Boston, MA. I asked Bobby how he ended up at RIT.

“I ended up at RIT for two major reasons. The primary reason is that I loved the idea of having large deaf and hearing communities together on campus. Second, I knew I wanted to be an environmental scientist and I was fascinated not only with the program, but all of the sustainability efforts going on across campus.”

Bobby’s schedule is busy as well, but I was curious what he does when he’s got some free time. “Definitely out exploring the woods, hiking, taking pictures, or hanging out with friends.”

What was Bobby doing when he found out he and Farid had won the election?

“I was actually in Puerto Rico doing some research at the time of announcements. Once I found out (which was a few hours later due to spotty reception) I went for a hike in the rainforest and had a small celebration with my peers.”

How did Farid and Bobby end up as running mates? First, I asked Farid what drove him to choose Bobby as his Vice President.

“I met Bobby at the beginning of this academic year through SG. I immediately recognized his drive and ambition, and his willingness to help other students. He is very passionate about RIT and the community, and I knew that he would do amazing in any position he found himself in. Above everything else, I consider him a friend, and I know that our personalities will balance each other very well.”

Then, of course, I had to ask Bobby why he took Farid up on his offer.

“I took Farid up on his offer because I knew that he and I covered many areas of campus together. Combined, we have experience with SG, CLCE, admissions, Orientation, ASC, the Deaf, Greek, International, LGBTQ communities, and so much more. Because of this, I felt that we would be able to advocate for the RIT population in amazing ways.”

Farid and Bobby told me about their goals they plan to achieve in the next academic year as President and Vice President.

“Our platform revolves around forming connections between RIT students and different resources. Primarily, we will be focused on bringing the RIT and Rochester communities together. We think that life on campus has found a pretty good balance, but that most students haven’t really explored Rochester or the surrounding areas. There’s so much to do around here, from museums, to urban exploring, to events at other schools and great eating locations, we would like to see more students get off campus and take advantage of everything Rochester has to offer. This includes working closely with other schools’ Student Governments to form a more unified Rochester Student Community.”

If you’re looking for advice, who better to receive it from than your SG President and Vice President?

Farid’s advice for any RIT student: “Do not get discouraged if you don’t get what you want in the beginning. I lost every election for positions that I cared about before I won the Presidency. RIT has many different ways to get involved, so if one thing fails, look out for the next opportunity. And never say no to an opportunity because you think you are not ready, say yes and figure out how to do it later.”

Bobby’s advice: “Follow your own path! My biggest failures have always come out of trying to follow someone else’s path. When you identify an important goal, trust your best judgment and do what it takes for YOU to reach that goal. If you compare yourself to others or hold yourself to the expectations you have of others, you will disappoint yourself.”

Both Farid and Bobby mentioned they are extremely excited to begin their term and are very thankful for everyone who believed in them. You picked some great ones, Tigers!

RIT Warm Weather Guide

Warm weather has finally arrived here in Rochester, New York. As the semester comes to a close, don’t miss out on the fun things to do on or around campus.


Global Village Plaza

If there’s one place on campus that allows you to take full advantage of the nice weather in Rochester, it’s Global Village. Now that the weather has allowed for it, there are lots of available outdoor seating. You can even access RIT wifi perfectly, allowing you to catch some sun rays while doing homework. Occasionally, Salsaritas will even open its windows, so the indoor and outdoor eating area are combined. There’s also a water fountain and fire pit that will top off any warm, spring day!
Imagine RIT

While Imagine RIT is something fun and exciting to do while the weather is nice, it is also a day dedicated to the creative, innovative work that members of our campus community have accomplished. The festival will be taking place this Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. And don’t worry, Imagine RIT is set to take place rain or shine! It is free and open to the public, so grab some friends and enjoy what Rochester Institute of Technology has to offer!


Rochester Lilac Festival

The Rochester Lilac Festival is an exciting event to visit off campus. The festival runs daily from May 12 to May 21, so pick the day with the best weather forecast and make a trip out of it. Held in Rochester’s beautiful Highland Park, the event includes endless lilac gardens, music, food, rides, and so much more. Like Imagine RIT, the festival is free, and open to the public.
Outdoor Track

While plenty of us dread going to the gym (especially when the weather is beautiful), using the outdoor track is always an option. Located in front of the Student Life Center, the outdoor track goes around the perimeter of the lacrosse field. You’ll get to embrace Rochester’s spring, all while working out!


Seneca Park Zoo

Another off campus option, for those who are hoping to spend some time away from Rochester Institute of Technology, is the Seneca Park Zoo. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the zoo is a perfect spot for a day trip.

Loop around Campus

Much like the outdoor track, the loop around campus is also an option for working out. The loop that spans the perimeter of Rochester Institute of Technology is perfect for those who wish to ride their bike, walk, run, skateboard, etc. It is approximately 3.14 miles, and allows you to embrace the outdoors without straying too far from campus buildings.

Campus Hiking/Running Trails

Many people are not aware of the fact that Rochester Institute of Technology is packed with hiking and running trails. Check out one of our past articles to see where the trails start and end, as well as their distance!

Outdoor Volleyball

Who doesn’t love playing volleyball on a beach, while the sun shines high overhead? Unfortunately, Rochester Institute of Technology doesn’t have a beach, but there is a sand volleyball court available to mimic the experience! Located next to the Global Village apartments, the sand volleyball net is up, and ready to be used!
Grill outside of Gracies

Located on the dorm side of campus, many students do not take full advantage of the grills outside of Gracies. As the weather gets nicer and nicer, gathering some friends for an outdoor barbecue is a fun, inexpensive way to get outside. Located behind Grace Watson Hall, there are benches and picnic tables in the vicinity, making it the perfect place to host an outdoor hangout.

Final Ask Destler Recap

WITR 89.7 has been bringing President Destler in for an interview every few months for years, but this past installment of Ask Destler was a special one. This edition, which aired April 26, marked the last time that Dr. Destler would come on air as President. It was special as well in that it was broadcast live from the Fireside Lounge rather than in the studio.

RIT’s President Destler with interviewer Eric Lee

The broadcast covered a number of topics aimed at capping off Dr. Destler’s tenure at RIT. The interview opened by discussing Imagine RIT, which of course has been one of Dr. Destler’s largest contributions to RIT. Imagine, which turning 10 years old this year, is expected to draw a crowd of nearly thirty thousand. Dr. Destler stated that there will be over 400 exhibits and expects excellent weather for the event, saying there had been “15 minutes” of rain for the event in the past decade. He also spoke about the President’s challenge, which carries the prize of $1000 or a Banjo from Dr. Destler’s private collection. Destler joked it was a particularly good banjo this year, having given away or sold all the “runts” of the collection.

The conversation continued with this theme of major campus events, moving on to RIT graduation. A major point of discussion was this year’s commencement speaker. RIT has hosted many esteemed speakers over the years – from the Director of the CIA and the CEO of Xerox to Bills both Clinton and Nye. This year will be Austin McChord, founder of Datto and RIT alumni. At 30 years old he will be, as Dr. Destler pointed out, RIT’s youngest commencement speaker.


One of the most interesting topics covered in the interview was how Dr. Destler came to RIT. As is turns out, and rather unsurprisingly I may add, what first brought him to Rochester was banjos. A few years before he was even under consideration for President of RIT, he came to Rochester with a trunk load of banjos to trade with a collector here in Rochester. He was unfamiliar with the Shortly after this, the RIT Presidential search committee reached out to him, bringing him back to Rochester permanently.


Dr. Destler also discussed his plans after leaving RIT. He plans to help Dr. Munson wherever he can, as Al Simone did back for him back in 2007. He also plans to remain on several startup boards he has become involved in, and hopes to be more active on these boards going forward. He also hopes to devote more time to his music, joking he “has to support himself somehow”.


At the end of this event, WITR presented a “Platinum Record” of Dr. Destler’s first album, September Sky. This record represents all of all the help Dr. Destler gave to the station in constructing their new studio space in the Student Alumni Union, as well as a way for one of RIT’s many student organizations to say farewell to a man who has been a friend to RIT for the last 10 years.