25 Year Club:

Staff have deep roots in campus community

by Gavin Wilson
Staff writer

UBC's 25 Year Club welcomes 82 new members this year.

The club consists of staff who have given a quarter-century of service to the university.

President Martha Piper will host a dinner for all 25 Year Club members on May 7 in the Totem Park Residence Ballroom.

New members include:

Jeff Barker

JeffAs a young man fresh out of school, Jeff Barker was traveling around B.C., picking up jobs in logging camps, canneries and as a short-order cook. Then a friend suggested applying at the UBC Library.

He did it on a whim, but his life has never been the same since.

In the intervening 25 years he met his future wife, who also worked in the library, and made many lifelong friends, including the guys at the Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre, with whom he's played Wednesday night hockey for as long as he's worked here.

As a library assistant, Barker catalogues and processes government publications. He spends the other half of his time on the reference desk, helping students and faculty members with their research.

"I like the fact that I work independently. I also like the relaxed attitude out here -- you don't have to wear a suit and tie," says the jean-clad Barker.

He's seen many changes on campus over the years, but none loom as large to Barker as the big move to Koerner Library, which involved the merger of Sedgewick Undergraduate Library, the humanities and social sciences reference section and government publications and microforms.

When he's not at work, Barker enjoys hiking and biking on the North Shore where he lives, coaching kids' baseball and soccer and playing computer games.

Audrey Bowley

Audrey Audrey Bowley's official job title is sales attendant, but don't call her that.

"I try to avoid the term," she laughs. "I'm a waitress -- I serve people."

Bowley has served thousands of people since she joined the university. She now waits on tables at Trekkers, but is best known to generations of students as one of the venerable servers at the old Bus Stop Cafe.

With its three horseshoe-shaped lunch counters, vinyl-covered stools and classic diner fare of clubhouse sandwiches, burgers and french fries, the Bus Stop was a throwback to an earlier era, and the best-loved dining spot on campus.

"They always said it was the smallest, but busiest, food service outlet on campus. There was always a lineup of people waiting to sit down," says Bowley, who worked at the Bus Stop for 17 years.

Why was it so popular?

"The comments we always heard were that it was because it was so friendly. We were the moms and they were our kids. It was like one big happy family."

Bowley loves her job so much that she also works several nights a week at a family restaurant in Richmond.

"I've always had two jobs; I've done that for 25 years," she says, "If I'm not working, I'm bored."

Nancy Wiggs

Nancy You could say that working at UBC has given Nancy Wiggs a chance to let students have their day in court. Hundreds of days, actually.

That's because for 18 years she administered the Faculty of Law's legal clinic. While she worked there, the program used law students to provide legal counsel for members of the public who could not afford lawyers and could not get legal aid.

Joining the clinic as a secretary, before long Wiggs was working essentially as a paralegal -- screening clients, setting trial dates and arranging police reports.

"It was absolutely fascinating," she says, "and a lot of fun."

The clinic was handling 300 to 400 cases a year and representing clients in up to 100 criminal trials. The students would draft wills, arrange adoptions and make appearances in small claims, traffic and family courts.

"There are not a lot of staff jobs on campus where you work closely with students -- and I did," says Wiggs.

In 1994, Wiggs was promoted to senior administrator for the faculty. Now she supervises a staff of 15 and works closely with the 45 full-time faculty and the 80 lawyers and judges who serve as adjunct professors.

"This will sound funny, but in my present position I sit on a lot of university committees, and I really like it. It's a real eye opener. I enjoy the new challenges of working with students, faculty and the university."