Some call her the “mijo lady,” and some call her auntie, but does anyone really know much about Alicia Villapando. Villapando has been working at California Lutheran University since 1985, and April 1 marked her 30-year anniversary.
The Thousand Oaks native said she has lived here since she was a child and says she still has family here today. Her two sisters and brother live in the area with their kids, which she said she is extremely happy about.
Villapando spends most of her time outside of work with her family either cooking or spending quality time with her niece and nephews.
Villapando’s normal day includes working in the cafeteria from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. Then, she heads home to her apartment to start cooking for the night.
“I come home, start cooking for the day, do my laundry and clean my apartment. There is always something to do. I’m always busy with some chores,” Villapando said.
Many would agree that Villapando is one of the most positive and upbeat employees in the cafeteria.
“Every time I walk in the caf she always greets me with ‘Hey mijo, how are you? Beautiful day huh?’ which is always refreshing to hear,” sophomore Anthony Sanders said. “It seems like she actually cares how our day is going. It’s really genuine.”
In the 30 years she has been here, she has seen a lot of changes at Cal Lutheran. Her favorite has been the new Ullman Commons that opened this year.
“It is a lot nicer than the old one. Everything is newer and more up-to-date, but in the end it’s still the same thing,” Villapando said.
As anyone can tell walking into the cafeteria, Villapando loves her job.
“Everything about my job is great, but my favorite thing about working here would have to be seeing all my mijos. Seeing all their faces and being able to see how their days are going is great,” Villapando said.
She also said she loves the machine that she swipes all the ID cards with.
As much as she loves her job, Villapando said she knows that in a couple of years she will have other plans than working here at Cal Lutheran.
“I will probably be here for a couple more years because I’m old,” Villapando said.
After her time at Cal Lutheran she wants go to Mexico to spend time with her other brother and sister. She said she will travel back and forth between countries as much as she can to see all of her family.
Although she is excited for her new adventure after her job at Cal Lutheran, she said she will miss working here as well.
“The friendships I have made, the people I get to meet and the fact that I live so close to work will probably be the thing I miss most about working here,” Villapando said.
The students here at Cal Lutheran will miss Villapando when she is gone.
“It won’t be the same when auntie leaves because even when I am having a bad day she finds a way to brighten it. It’s hard to find someone else that can do that for all the students, day in and day out,” sophomore Ryan Murata said. “She really knows how to spread the aloha spirit, which really makes me feel at home.”
Whether it’s sunny or raining, the students of Cal Lutheran can always count on Villapando to greet you with a “Hey mijo,” or leave you with a “See you at lunch time, and have a beautiful day.”
Published April 15th, 2015