Making a difference in McConnell Hall

For Porter Michael Weekes, taking care of McConnell Hall means much more than just looking after the building. It means looking out for everyone who lives there as well
Michael Weekes (centre) with students Matthias Hoenisch and Macy Weymar.

McGill Residences is home to over 3,000 students each year. In addition to the convenience of living on campus, students can enjoy an easier first-year transition to university. What most students remember, however, is being a part of a strong and vibrant supported community that living in residence provides and the rich friendships that are formed with students from all over the world.

But, if you were to ask McConnell Hall students one of the things they love about their Residences, there is a strong chance you’ll hear one name again and again: Michael.

Michael Weekes is the porter at McConnell Hall, a dormitory-style co-ed residence situated all the way up the hill on University Street. His daily duties include receiving packages and distributing mail, managing room repairs, keeping inventory for cleaning staff and maintaining general building security.

But for many McConnell students, Weekes does much more than that. He has made his mark on students both past and present. When you catch a glimpse of him interacting with the students, his impact is clear; Weekes is a reassuring presence; someone they can count on to listen and ask how they are doing.

“The one thing that made my experience one that I’ll remember and cherish forever was Michael,” says McConnell Hall resident, Mady Bolsterli. “Whether it was him yelling ‘be good’ while I walked out the door or our conversations about how I was doing, he managed to brighten up my day. He gave me a feeling of home and I knew he’d be there if I needed to talk.”

“On Move in Day, I was feeling nervous and Michael made a joke that immediately made me feel comfortable and welcome. A great start to my first year,” says McConnell Resident Matthias Hoenisch.

Multiple McConnell students echo these sentiments. “From my first day in rez, Michael has been someone I can go to with questions and advice about rez or anything else,” says Macy Weymar.

When asked about Weekes’ bond with students, his supervisor Elaine Talbot says that he is a source of motivation for them. “He really has a special approach. In a way he is a parent figure. Not in the sense that he raises them, but he keeps an eye on them and the students respond positively to that.”

For Weekes, one of the best parts of his job is seeing how students evolve within their time in Residences and beyond. “I like seeing the faces of the future, because they literally are the future,” he says. “I’ve had colleagues see former students work at the border, work at hospitals. I’m even going to a wedding of a former student. It’s great to see them ready to face the world after they leave Residences. Life can be hard and I encourage them to focus on the good part of their day. I want them to be the best they can be.”

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