By Aditi Garg ’22
An integral part of the Scripps community, the members of the Malott staff work hard and make it possible for us to have meals, but many students never get the opportunity to interact with them beyond a “hello.” Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Beth Garvin, who serves as the Administrative Assistant for Dining Services at Scripps College. While this one conversation does not reflect the individuality of each staff member, I hope that learning more about Beth will open up a further dialogue between students and Malott staff.
The Scripps Voice: How long have you worked at Malott?
Beth Garvin: I was hired here in December of 2010, so I’m going on nine years.
TSV: What has it been like to interact with students in the dining hall?
BG: I honestly can say that I love everything about the students. I love that everybody is different. I love that I see them all as my children because mine are the same age. Mine were going away to college and I was sad about that, so I would leech happiness and connection with the students, other people’s children, and loved everything about it. I love that they would confide in me when they needed to. I could say, “Hey, how’s it going today?” because I’m pretty good at reading people and they were like, “I just wanted to tell somebody about finals” (or whatever else was on their minds). I really, really have enjoyed getting to know them. And when some [students] graduate and their siblings start [college], they come back and say “This is my sister!” or “This is my brother!” I love it so much.
TSV: How has your overall experience been as a member of the Scripps community?
BG: Just…fulfilling in every way. And I say that I’m a really emotional person, so I needed that connection as my kids were leaving [for college]. It was fulfilling in that way, and it was fulfilling as a woman reentering the workforce as my kids were starting to leave and I decided to apply here. I had worked with my mom’s business for forever when my kids were little, so I was kind of protected and safe in the Claremont Village. I grew up here in Claremont, so I haven’t really gone far. When I decided to step outside my comfort zone and apply here, it was scary because I was pretty sure I didn’t know anything about anything. But I knew how to be kind to people and I knew how to honestly engage and make people feel like “I care about you, I’m concerned about you, I’m interested in what you have to talk about.” I thought, what better place to utilize that than at Scripps? [I’m] just really, really fulfilled everyday and now that I’m in this position, the Administrative Assistant, I’m getting to see the other side of the dining hall and getting to know my coworkers in a little bit of a different way, being able to help them with some of the processes.
TSV: Reflecting on your time at Scripps, have you had any memorable experiences?
BG: I would say, the first thing that comes to mind is when the Obama girls toured [Scripps]. That was a couple of years ago, and they came with their grandma, and we were only allowed to know [about their visit] the day of. We were cleaning everything, they came in, and what I loved so much is that they could have blended in right then and there. They [were] regular girls. It was just another college tour. Their grandma asked questions, the Secret Service was very kind, and everything was cleared out for them. One of our sweet students that I had gotten to know really well was tasked with giving them the tour. They went out and got inside their little golf cart with all of their security, and went on the tour. But that was so fun for us. We have had a lot of — I like to say — “important” people’s children that have come to school here. But as a whole, we all feel so special when we’re tasked with taking care of other people’s kids. We feel like “Dang, we’re doing the right thing, we’re doing some good things that [make] their families trust us.”
TSV: Do you have any hobbies or other passions?
BG: It’s kind of sad that right now, I really kind of don’t. But really my hobby is my youngest son, who’s a senior at Claremont High School, and is really active in band and plays volleyball. So every other day we’re going to a volleyball game and that’s kind of been my role — it’s been “mother” this whole time. I was just talking to my husband recently, about how when [my son] leaves for college, what’s my role going to be? I mean, it’s just going to be a really strange time, so I think I’ll be able to answer that question better this time next year. My life has been my kids and my husband is a music teacher, so it’s just been a lot of band activities and family time. We do like our cats, though. We go for walks. We love living in Claremont. We do a lot of Claremont activities. We visit the farmer’s market and stuff like that.
TSV: What are the names of your cats?
BG: So we have Chicken, who I named Chicken before we knew that she an actual chicken. She’s afraid of everything, and she’s a tree climber so she lives on top of a bookshelf and we put another bookshelf so she can crawl across it, and that’s where her food dish is. And then we have Michael, who’s insane — he’s a bully but he’s a lover too. Chicken’s about 12 and Michael is 3.