Nick Salita has somehow found enjoyment in cleaning the dishes of more than 60 girls. A sophomore and member of Sigma Nu fraternity, his job as houseboy for Alpha Phi has turned into something more than just making silverware spotless.
The job is pretty straightforward: Houseboys work around dinnertime and help prepare the main courses. Duties include cleaning and putting away dishes, placing the dinner settings and tackling any miscellaneous tasks the chefs or kitchen staff need. A houseboy doesn’t necessarily have to be in a fraternity, but some sororities have different hiring requirements and specific needs.
For two to three days a week, Salita heads to Alpha Phi around 5 p.m. After two to three hours of work that consists of doing basic cleaning chores, Salita gets his dinner and gets to chat it up with everyone. This is the main reason he chose the position: to work in a laid-back environment that brought him more opportunities than just your average maintenance job.
Salita first heard about the houseboy job last spring through a fraternity brother. “One of my brothers worked at Alpha Phi, and I asked him if there was any openings,” he said. “It’s a thing now that we pass it down. Once one person graduates, they pass (the job) down to another person in their fraternity.”
Not every house has the same traditions as Alpha Phi, but Salita secured the job in fall 2013 and has worked there ever since.
Apart from constant company, Salita’s primary motivation for becoming a houseboy was to make some money, eat free meals and have a job flexible enough to fit around his busy schedule. Since working there, he has made friends with the other houseboys in different fraternities
“There are four houseboys, two in Sigma Chi and two in Sigma Nu … and I have definitely made friends with other houseboys even though there aren’t that many of us,” he said.
Another friend Salita has made during his time as houseboy is Papa Don, a 60-something who works at Alpha Phi every day.
Papa Don has been working at Alpha Phi for 11 years now, and his job doing maintenance and kitchen management has been filled with nothing but surprises and excitement. “I love everything about the house … the girls, all the guys are great,” he said. “My wife worked here. One day she called and said one of the house boys didn’t show up … she asked me to come in for one day … so now I’ve been here 11 years.”
Member of Alpha Phi, Kelly Battaglia, constantly notices how the house boys bring energy to their jobs everyday, “All the girls really enjoy being around them. They’re always enthusiastic and a majority of us are good friends with the guys. I’m sure the work can be tedious but I’ve always seen them with a smile on their faces,” Battaglia said.