Amador Acosta is one of only four members of the grounds cleaning crew who arrive on campus by 5 a.m. to ensure all 94 acres of SFSU's grounds are spotless and inviting for the day's wave of visitors.
Picking up papers, sweeping away cigarette butts and clearing fliers from numerous posts around campus are just some of the tasks Acosta must accomplish. He does it with earnest dependability, and for his hard work, Acosta has been chosen October's STAR of the Month.
Acosta immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1975, a newly married young man with high hopes for a new life in the United States. He and his wife lived with his father in Hercules, where the couple still resides.
Acosta, 51, spent 25 years as a waiter in Berkeley, before the restaurant he worked for closed its doors almost four years ago. Anxious to find another job, he applied for a spot on the grounds cleaning crew and has been faithfully checking in at 5 a.m. for three years.
"At first it was hard to get up, but maybe after a year or so I got used to it," said the father of two.
He enjoys the variety of the job, which involves cleaning the area from the MUNI station down to the Administration Building and half of the quad. While he works alone, Acosta said he enjoys the solitude and the focus it allows him. A typical day for Acosta begins with intensive cleaning through 8 a.m., followed by checking and monitoring his area until mid-afternoon.
"Amador may be a STAR for the campus community, but he's a diamond to me," said his supervisor, Barbara J. Nelson, director of campus support services. "He's someone I can always depend on, someone who is always here to make the campus a place people want to come."
Nelson said Acosta routinely exceeds the expectations of his job.
"No matter what the weather is or how dark it is outside, Amador is always here preparing the campus. It's not very easy to keep the campus looking clean and cared for," she said. "I think he sees his role as a caretaker, and that's what he is. He rises to the occasion on a daily basis."
While Acosta said he enjoys his job, he often wishes the rest of the campus community would work harder to help keep the campus clean. He's especially concerned about recycling.
"Some people use the recycling containers like garbage cans," he said. "You have to separate the recycling and garbage; put papers and bottles in the recycling cans. Garbage is for the garbage can."
An avid golf and tennis player, Acosta also enjoys spending time with his family. He and his son play golf together almost every weekend. He also enjoys traveling to the Philippines. Though most of his family now lives in the United States, he's hoping to travel there next year.
Please join us in congratulating Amador and thank him for making such a difference.
As the STAR of the Month, Acosta will enjoy four free lunches on campus, a free parking pass or equivalent in one month's public transportation costs, and more. He will also be eligible for the STAR of the Year award.
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