Stephen Lappen—more commonly known as “Woody”—is one of the most recognized and revered people at Babson College, a friendly face who has served thousands of students, faculty, and staff as a mainstay on campus since the 1980s. Woody is intertwined in the fabric of Babson, whether it be famously remembering exactly how people like their coffee or attending an arts performance or an athletics event. The supervisor of Dunkin’ and former supervisor at the Gourmet Bean (taken over by Dunkin’) inside the Donald W. Reynolds Campus Center, Woody spent his first 13 years at Babson working at the Exchange in Park Manor Central.
“Besides the obvious of seeing a lot of presidents come and go, students and staff, as well, I believe the diversity has grown over the years. I love meeting students from other parts of the United States and the world.
“The students are basically the same, focused on business, but computers have changed everything. I believe they are studying more, and when their computers break down, there are more problems. Keeps them busy.
“What has kept me here is the camaraderie among the students, staff, and faculty. I love to see the students, coaches, staff, and faculty who I’ve come to know. For instance, a coach will ask me if I’m coming to their game tonight, and I tell them I’ll be there.”
“I love being in touch with all of the faculty, staff, and students, and taking an interest in their daily lives. For example, I’ll ask students how their exams were or how their weekends went. Same goes for faculty and staff. Getting to know them is really nice, and hopefully our conversations make them feel good. Some will tell me how things are going at home and what they’re doing, which is always interesting. I like that. Just a simple greeting means a lot to people, and if they’re having trouble, a simple cup of tea and ‘good morning’ goes a long way.”
“The students keep me young and make me think about the way I view the world politically, socially, and they help me be a better person. Same with faculty and staff, going to a sporting event, meeting up with people, that’s special. They talk about their lives, they might invite me to a Christmas party. Meeting them outside of work is fun, and they teach me a lot about the way faculty deals with the students and the staff also. Babson students are very knowledgeable, and most of them know what they want. They’re focused really, so we’re kind of lucky.”
“We no longer take cash or credit. People can only order on the app. Of course, there’s less interaction with the customers, which is really big. And, of course, I don’t get to go to any athletics or dance ensemble events. In fact, some of the customers do like ordering online, but I talked with somebody today and he said he likes ordering here but sometimes it’s nice to come down and talk to you, which I can’t now since we’re so busy. Well, once in a while I can.”
“I love to see the customers. For instance, in a play, I love to see the customer on stage. Same with the athlete, as I love to see them competing in their particular sport. I try to get to as much as I can, but sometimes I can’t so it’s rewarding to go to some of the performances and games.”
“Babson means so much to me, the lifelong friendships, getting to know so many people, and to be a part of the campus life. It means a lot to me to come to campus every day and serve them coffee, which I try to do the best I can to serve each person the same way. I take great pride in remembering how each person likes their coffee. This year is a little more difficult, but when I see their face, I generally know what they want. I think that’s a good quality to have, to make everyone feel special.”
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