Unsung heroes from across Harvard Law School were celebrated on April 2 as part of the annual Support Staff Award Ceremony. Launched last year, the annual event honors the contributions of staff members who support the community through roles that can sometimes be behind the scenes at Harvard — including public safety, custodial services, mail delivery, facilities and groundskeeping services, food services, and the provision of textbooks and other materials. 

Kicking off the event, Tolulope Alegbeleye ’24, former Harvard Law School Student Government co-president, expressed “heartfelt gratitude” for the law school’s support staff and stressed the importance of recognizing and appreciating the vital role they play in the law school’s collective success. 

“Whether it’s lending a helping hand, offering a listening ear, giving a much-needed word of encouragement, or going above and beyond to support their colleagues, our support staff embodies the spirit of service and dedication,” said Alegbeleye. “As we honor their achievements today, let us also recommit ourselves to fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition year-round.” 

The event was sponsored by The Reciprocity Effect, a nonprofit launched in 2023 by then Harvard Law student Rehan Staton ’23. A former sanitation worker from Bladensburg, Maryland, Staton raised funds to give $100 gift certificates to each support staff member at Harvard Law and to provide ongoing recognition for them and their colleagues at other educational institutions and institutions. 

In a 2023 interview in the Washington Post, Stanton said he launched the initiative because he remembered what it was like work that type of job. “When I see them, I see me,” he said. “I view them as my equal. They are just my peers.” 

2024 Support Staff Award Winners

Reciprocity Effect Award:

Lin Trever (Harvard Dining Services)

Heart of Harvard Award:

Gale Hayde (Custodial Services)

Brione Merchant (Harvard Dining Services)

Rosa Orellana (Harvard Dining Services)

Outstanding Leader Award:

Maria Ahmad (Custodial Services)

Sedo Martinez (Custodial Services, not pictured)

Edwin Melo (Securitas Security Services)

Harvard Ambassador Award

Yahya Bajinka (Securitas Security Services)

Jessica Crews (Harvard Dining Services)

Garrell Dortichon (Securitas Security Services)