If you are fortunate enough to live in McGlinn Hall, coming home from a long day of class is much improved by the love and support of the housekeepers, who never hesitate to flash a smile and ask how your day has been. Their cheerful dispositions liven up the section lounges, and the dorm is brightened by both their cleaning supplies and their smiles.

This week’s “Who’s Who” is Emma Owens, affectionately called “Miss Emma” by the girls of McGlinn. She was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to sit down and chat with me about her experiences at Notre Dame. Emma has been a housekeeper in McGlinn for 13 years, but has worked at Notre Dame for 22.

She first started working at the Huddle but became involved with building services after a year. She then worked in Flanner, formerly a male dorm, for 5 years. In 1997, when the West Quad dorms were built, Emma moved across campus and alternated between Welsh Family Hall and McGlinn.

Emma is from South Bend, where she and her husband raised their 4 children. She also has 10 grandchildren, all of whom are still in the area. She says her “favorite part of working here is getting to know all the students.”

I asked her about her summer, and she replied that she had a weeks vacation, but a few years ago she won a cruise to the Bahamas by winning a sweepstakes at Martins. She and her husband took the trip and had a great time. This summer, she and her fellow housekeepers cleaned up after the various groups who stayed on campus.

“It was like a regular hotel,” she laughed. “Needless to say, we were glad when you kids came back.”

Emma and the other housekeepers in McGlinn provide a very loving and comforting atmosphere for all the residents, and can improve any day with a big smile and kind words. Emma goes far beyond than her required duties around the dorm.

She puts the needs of the students first, and is always willing to lend a hand. “We try to be your moms away from home, ask you how your day has been, give you a hug if you need it, or a shoulder to cry on,” she said with a smile.

When I asked her if she had any advice for the students, or if there was anything we could do differently, she replied, “I’m very proud of the young women here, who strive to be as excellent as possible. I wouldn’t trade working here at McGlinn for anything, especially after working in boys’ dorms!”

I know that I speak for everyone who has met Emma that they wouldn’t trade her for anything, either.

Liz Everett is a sophomore who’s grateful to live in McGlinn Hall.  Contact her at eeveret1@nd.edu.