Starting her mornings on campus at 4 a.m., Vanda Newman is not your average employee. Celebrating her 30-year milestone with Colorado State, and currently working as the Custodial Manager at CSU’s Student Recreation Center, Newman has watched the building of the recreation complex from the ground up.
“I’ve been here since before the original recreation center was under construction; I watched the cement for the original pool being poured,” she said.
For the first 20 years of her career, she worked with student staff within the custodial department, which helped to spark her passion for expansion and growth within her role. Newman loves the fact that the Student Recreation Center is within the Division of Student Affairs, and enjoys knowing she can help to enhance where student dollars go, to help maintain the facility.
“At Campus Recreation, we are fortunate that our administration understands what it takes to get the quality of service they want. So they provide the resources and support that allows my staff and me to achieve those expectations,” Newman said.
In her current role, Newman begins each morning with an inspection of the facility, followed by a system of checks and balances to make sure everything is in order, clean, and up to the system’s par. Newman shared that she’d always rather be proactive in making sure everything is spotless and running smoothly than have to be reactive in a situation. Her team is composed of individuals who take pride in their work, and the high quality services they provide. Often unnoticed, these custodial staff members at the Student Recreation Center do an exceptional job to maintain and better the facility.
Every August, Newman’s team refinishes the wood floors within the Student Rec Center, which is an massive task to undertake. They all have assigned areas and duties within the center that help them to be accountable, and work to maintain one of the busiest communal spaces on campus. Newman loves the current system used, because it helps her staff develop pride in their work by being accountable to their areas.
The ability to create and maintain the budget and space the Student Rec Center provides is not Newman’s only passion within her position.
“I adore this job because of the unending potential it helps to provide to myself and my staff. There are constant opportunities to expand and set the standard for our workers. We are offered the chance to develop ourselves, and gain the necessary tools to become supervisors and managers within this system,” Newman said.
One of her favorite things about working under the Department of Student Affairs and in coordination with Housing & Dining Services is that they are constantly helping their employees to improve and excel within their field. Newman is a strong believer in the ideal that each individual creates their own life path, and that her staff should be able to find their own light within their careers.
She prides herself on the work her team does, and how each member has their own story that plays into their role, and how they help to better our campus. From the outside, they seem like a tight knit group, who enjoy their dynamic crew. From the inside, they are even closer. Newman has done an exceptional job in fostering this environment and enjoying the company of each individual within their custodial field.
In her spare time, Newman enjoys painting and crocheting. She has a passion for children’s rights, and enjoyed taking a paralegal correspondence course on campus. Recently, after losing 110 pounds within a nine-month period, Newman became a part-time health coach, now working to better the lives of those around her. She enjoys afternoon tricycle rides around her neighborhood with her two dogs, and has created a life filled with laughter, joy, and great enthusiasm for her job.
“Over the years I have grown as an individual and been able to develop the skills that allow me to manage personnel, budget planning and control, researching and implementing best practices to maintain our building and LEED certification. Every day is a learning experience with an opportunity for growth. I feel that my job is to provide my staff with the training, expectation and support to be successful,” Newman said.
Colorado State University employees achieving a decade of service or more this year will be honored at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event on Thursday, April 28, at 4 p.m. in the LSC Grand Ballroom.