Over the years I have heard some staff members say that they wished they could play a bigger role in RIT's retention efforts. I'm always surprised that many staff don't acknowledge the role they play everyday just by fulfilling their basic job responsibilities. Whether it's ensuring that a maintenance request is completed quickly and efficiently or offering a simple 'thank you' when a student is purchasing their lunch.
I remember talking with a member of the residence hall custodial staff and her telling me that she still received correspondence from students that graduated from RIT over 10 years ago. They referred to her as 'Mom' because she would always make sure that she reminded them to dress appropriately for the weather, asked how their classes were going, and offered advice whenever it was needed. There are students that are regulars in some of our campus stores, not necessarily because they need to make a daily purchase but because they enjoy having a staff member outreach to them and ask them how everything is going.
It's easy to pass these interactions off as just part of your job but they are vital to making our students feel at home. Never discount simply making eye contact with a student and saying 'hi' to them or truly being present if they stop in to talk to you about something. These interactions can make the difference between a student graduating from RIT or leaving.