In Focus is a question-and-answer series with people who are members of SEIU 503–085 UO.
Please introduce yourself and explain your job.
My name is Liz Hahn. I work at university housing on the University of Oregon campus. I’ve been on campus nearly 30 years. I’ve worked for Housing for most of that time.
I’m a custodian in the residence halls, which has been my job at housing always and my favorite part of the job, and if you want to call it my vocation—it’s taking care of the students.
Every student is one of mine, and I want to let them know that I care about them. It also works both ways. They tend to take more pride in their hall. They tend to treat me as a person, because I won’t let them not talk to me. I won’t let them just ignore me. I want them to be recognized and to recognize me, and that’s what I teach.
We need to recognize each other, respect each other and very very importantly, recycle. I teach them recycling. I put recycle bins in all their lounges. That’s been my wonderful experience here all these years.
Why do you value the union?
I love my union, because it helps me feel more protected. I feel as if I do have rights, and I have help on campus about my job. I have better benefits because of the union. I have better friends because of the union. I feel more a part of this big community.
Tell me a little bit about your involvement with the union.
I have been fortunate enough to be involved with General Council, I believe three different times.
When people start griping about the union, I tell them, “You are the union. If you wanna gripe, you get involved, and you fix it.”
We need more members to express what their needs are and then take action on ’em and not just sit back and complain about it, because that’s not the way to make the union better.
What else is there to Liz Hahn?
I graduated from Oregon State University in 1980 in landscape architecture design.
I have a wonderful son. He just got married last summer to Tabitha. I love her. They have a daughter named Abby, and she’s going to be seven this March, and I’m excited.
Horses are my favorite animal. Therefore, I have two cats, which are structurally similar, they’re just a lot smaller. They have similar bone structure, which is why when you get a horse, you wanna know if it’s a good one. If it can lay down and roll over easy and get back up again, you’ve got a good horse. So, I have two really good cats, because they’re so limber—it’s crazy.
I love archery. I can’t get along with my ex-boyfriend anymore very well, in a total way. However, we’re still friends, and we still do archery. We still work on our British cars together. I have a 1970 MGB Tourer. I have always been involved in MGs since I was 17. I’ve always had at least one or two or three, and I like getting greasy and dirty.
I love gardening. I finally have a house, which is one of the reasons I moved back to Thurston, where the yard will not be eaten by deer.
I love to swim, and I love to visit my cousins in California. I’m looking forward to going near Quincy in August. We’re already making plans. We’re gonna swim in lakes when I go down there to visit. Yeah, it’s up in the Sierra foothills, too, but the lakes—if you swim in the right part of the lakes, it’s not Arctic cold.