SunDial cashier advises students to ‘enjoy life’

Janet Emch has traveled through 47 states in the same summer and plans to zip-line in Mexico and travel to China after she retires. In the meantime, students can find her working at the Kreischer SunDial.

Janet, or “Jan” as everyone calls her, is currently a classified cashier who is very popular with students.

“We love her!” sophomore Nick Torresso said. “She’s so personable.”

Jan, a graduate of Bowling Green High School, hasn’t always been a cashier at the SunDial. She started working for the University back in 1983 and has had several different positions. Jan became the first woman hired as grounds keeper at the University in 1984 and worked her way up to become the horticulturist in charge of running the greenhouse.

“At one point in time when I first started, the greenhouse was my favorite thing to do,” Jan said. “I have a green thumb and I love color and design. It was just fun.”

The scorching heat and humidity in the summer of 1991 finally took its toll on her, so she moved on with a position as a supervisor in the campus post office. After five years at the post office, and a one-year break for personal reasons, Jan returned to the University in 1997 as a coordinator at the Black Swamp Pub and cashier in the Union.

“It was so hard to get a job at the University; I was just lucky,” Jan said. “I was glad. It’s a lot of fun to work on campus.”

Maybe the fun she’s referring to is all the students who go through her line and know her by name even when she’s not at work.

“She makes the [Sun]Dial, ‘the [Sun]Dial’,” sophomore and SunDial frequenter Ben Bojicic said. “She always has a smile on her face; she’s always happy.”

Dining Services Manager Michael Drane, who has been at the SunDial for three years, has worked with Jan for about a year and a half.

“Her work ethic is phenomenal and she is extremely personable with the students,” Drane said.

Jan has many reasons to be happy these days. She recently started creating a bucket list, a list of things she hopes to accomplish after she retires. She hopes to start crossing things off that list.

“I love to travel. I always tell people if you get the chance to, travel,” Jan said. “My friend went zip-lining in Mexico and I’m terrified of heights, but now it’s on my list because it sounds fun!”

While she’s not conversing with students while she cashiers, she likes to dance, play golf and pool, listen to jazz and hang out with friends. And she has plenty of stories, like how she can’t read music but can pick up any instrument and just play in tune.

“It’s the strangest thing, but I was always able to just play … a guitar, piano, anything,” Jan said. “However, I’ve never done karaoke before; that’s on my list now!”

Working at the University for the past 25 years and living in Bowling Green for the past 10, Jan has seen a lot of changes in the community. Among those changes is the Cla-zel theater, which recently turned into an entertainment venue in December.

“It’s a nice change. The look of the place is really nice and I like when they play jazz,” Jan said, adding, “Just the other day a student told me he saw me while I was there dancing!”

Jan loves the students and loves interacting with them, but she tries going out at night to places where students won’t see her.

“I’m a jokester, everyone knows I mess with them,” Jan laughed. “There are nights when I go out with friends and don’t necessarily want students to see me, but on other nights I try to go to as many events on campus as possible.”

She goes to Dance Marathon, hockey games, rival games versus Toledo and as many other things as she can manage. There are so many things to do on campus, it’s hard not to miss something, Jan said.

“The one thing I try to tell students is, whatever you do in life, enjoy it or it will never work,” she said with a smile.