By Cindi Schmalz (March 9, 2007)
Tina Badi Marks 50 Years of UAlbany Service
Tina Badi drives to work at the University at Albany five days a week so she can help staff the Indian Quad dining hall. That's not all that unusual until you consider that Mrs. Badi, a Chartwell's employee, is 90 years old. On March 17, 2007, she celebrates her 50th anniversary of working at UAlbany.
Mrs. Badi began her tenure at UAlbany's downtown campus before the uptown campus even existed. She has worked nearly all over the campus and has done many different jobs, including that of line woman, manager, breakfast cook and cashier. In 1971 she chose to work on Indian Quad because her grandmother was full-blooded American Indian, and she has been there ever since.
Indian Quad has been her favorite place to work because she enjoys seeing and meeting freshmen, Mrs. Badi said. It is evident by their responses that the students enjoy seeing her too. As she stands in her red sweater at her station, ready to swipe students into breakfast or lunch, she greets them with a twinkle in her eye. She warmly welcomes the students and makes them feel as if they are entering their grandmother's kitchen instead of a residence hall dining hall.
As she swipes a student's card, she says, "Hello, how are you?" "Hi Tina" or "Good afternoon," the students say as they read the pin of the day on her sweater. Today's pin says, "My other body is in the shop." She chats briefly about the weather with a few students, telling them, "Dress warm tomorrow. It's going to be very cold." Mrs. Badi says that she likes to talk and being a cashier and swiping cards gives her an opportunity to interact with the students. She says that she cannot remember names, as she sees over 800 students a day, but she does remember faces. Even after students move off of Indian Quad, some come back to visit her. Students and staff recently threw Mrs. Badi a 90th birthday celebration complete with a cake and balloons.
Perhaps the reason students come back to visit her is because of her philosophy: she treats students like adults, not children. When asked if she plans on retiring soon, she smiles and says politely, "That word is not in my vocabulary."
Mrs. Badi was born in Keene, N.H. When she got older, she moved to New York to be with her father. In the 1940s she married her husband. She has three children, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. She did not plan on working at the University for so long, but after her husband died in the 1970s, she decided that she wanted to keep working so she would not have to sit at home alone all day. On the job 35 hours a week, she says she enjoys her work and does not notice that she has been working for the University for 50 years. But others have taken notice. Those who see her every day notice her sense of humor and kindness and appreciate her hard work.
Editor's Note: Cindi Schmalz, a UAlbany senior, is an intern in the Office of Media and Marketing.