Unsung Hero: Vanessa Brown

Jenna SteplemanGeneral Assignment Reporter

Southern’s staff is large. That means that there are some people who go unnoticed in the crowd, as their jobs could be considered everyday positions we usually do not pay attention to. However, they are vital to allowing Southern’s campus to work smoothly.

Vanessa Brown, a resident of New Haven, has been working at Southern since last April. Her friend referred her to the position; with her background in transportation and her being a people person, the job was a good fit.

“I love my job because of the people. I get to interact with them. And the students, despite what people may assume, are always friendly and interesting to talk to,” Brown said.

The job entails picking students up from Wintergreen parking lot and transporting them back to the Morrill Hall main campus stop, and vice versa. Brown works Monday through Friday.

“The Wintergreen Garage Express route was designed to provide safe, reliable and timely service to and from the Wintergreen Garage and the Main Campus,” according to Southern’s Shuttle Service site.

The route is an express route providing service to each stop every five minutes.

On the day we spoke she was working an eight hour shift over which she will make somewhere around one hundred trips back and forth from Morrill Hall to Wintergreen garage.

“I get to conversate with everybody to pass the time, but I can’t even count how many times a day I do the same loop,” Brown said. “It’s still fun, but it makes for a repetitive view.”

Brown has lived in New Haven her whole life, and grew up here. She is now 51 years old and still lives and works in New Haven.

She graduated from Hillhouse Public High School in 1984. Soon after graduation, she went directly into the workforce.

Her past work has been similar to her current in various transportation-oriented jobs.

“I used to work with other transportation jobs, and this one is great because it gives me space to be the people person I am,” Brown said.

Although she does not have children herself, she enjoys spending time getting to know the young adults here at Southern and enjoys making their commutes easier.

Her hobbies include outdoor activities, but not so much playing sports anymore. She reserves that for the Patriots and the Lakers, her two favorite teams. She regularly watches basketball and football in her free time.

Brown makes an effort to speak to all the students on the bus, even remembering a girl riding who had a sister who also attended.

“I come across so many people on the route that it’s hard to always remember, but I try my best,” Brown said.

When asked if she would change anything or disliked anything about her job, she quickly replied no and said she genuinely loved everything, and was glad she had the job.

Photo Credit: Jenna Stepleman

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