A smile shyly formed on the face of Jesus “Jesse” Consing, an integral part of the Northwestern community for the past 25 years, as he walked into the Allison lounge to be greeted by the residents, staff, and faculty who were awaiting his arrival.
Beaming with joy, Jesse insisted on waiting for others to take lunch from the delicious display of Mediterranean food before serving himself. Jesse hesitated to take a seat at the head of the table, but was, ultimately, convinced by the guests, including fellow Maintenance Technicians Eleazar Rojas and Ramon Carranza. After a few moments chatting away at the lunch table and enjoying a well-deserved break, Consing graciously accepted a certificate from Professor Rifka Cook and Residence Director Kathryn Melendez to acknowledge his years of service at Northwestern and his contributions to making Allison Residential Community a special place to live. There was a twinkle in his eye during Cook and Melendez’s remarks that recognized his hard work and devotion to the Allison community. To Jesse, he was simply “doing his job,” but to the residents of Allison, he was doing so much more.
Melendez, the Residence Director for the South Area, and Cook, the Faculty-in-Residence for Allison Residential Community, collaborated on this celebratory event to honor Jesse. “Jesse doesn’t really celebrate himself ever, and so it’s important for the people around him who see his good work and the people who care about him to give him that space and that time to relax and feel loved,” said Melendez. “Hopefully, today he feels a little pampered.”
Tamara Bruha, a Resident Assistant in Allison, described Jesse as “overall just a really sweet person” and emphasized the importance of acknowledging staff who do the work that can be taken for granted by students. The luncheon was a way for students, such as Bruha, to connect with and show gratitude for those who often remain behind the scenes.
“I wanted to give recognition to Jesse. He works so hard. When I told him that I wanted to do something to express our appreciation, he said he didn’t want it,” explained Cook. After several attempts to convince him that he deserved to be honored, Cook realized what kind of person Jesse was. Jesse didn’t believe he needed this award or lunch, but those in Allison wanted him to know that he did.
Cook’s experience is consistent with the impressions of Johnathan Winters, Associate Director for Facilities & Construction, who called Jesse “a delightful person who is always willing to help. It’s a cliche, but it’s true with Jesse.” While in agreement about Jesse’s modest personality, Winters added that co-workers know “he is also a great dancer and loves to get down.”
Jesse is dedicated to making the student experience at Northwestern University better. He is one of the reasons why students can enjoy hanging out with friends and cooking with neighbors in Allison’s modern spaces. Simply put, Jesse makes Northwestern feel like home.
As a man of few words, but a warm smile, Jesse acknowledged he couldn’t explain the feelings that the luncheon evoked. He simply said, “I’m very thankful for honoring me and my co-workers.”
Jesse, thank you, from all of us. We appreciate you, your dedication, and your compassion. Allison would not be the same without you.