Housekeeping employee organizes seventh-annual campus breast cancer awareness walk

Miguel Roman’s dedication to the cause stems from watching family members fight breast cancer.

Miguel Roman stands in front of the owl statue outside O'Connor Plaza on Wednesday. For the past six years, participants of Roman's annual breast cancer awareness walk have stopped and said a prayer and took a picture in front of the statue at the end of the walk. | HANNAH BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Every Friday in October, students can easily spot Miguel Roman doing his housekeeping rounds through White Hall. He wears a pink long sleeve shirt and a pink ribbon bandana tied around his head.

At the end of each week, Roman’s bosses let him take a break from his required uniform to show support for a cause he’s dedicated to.

Roman, who has worked for Temple University for 14 years, is passionate about spreading breast cancer awareness and organizes an annual breast cancer awareness walk on campus for the past seven years.  Students can join the seventh-annual walk on Friday at noon outside Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria.

“This month everybody should be wearing pink,” Roman said. “All the buildings should have pink ribbons everywhere.”

Roman can frequently be spotted handing out pink ribbons on campus throughout October.

Each year, the hour-long breast cancer awareness walk starts in front of J&H, loops around campus and ends at the owl statue outside O’Connor Plaza.

Roman said the yearly event started with just a few people but has grown over the years.

“I started with four people, and then five, and six, and seven,” Roman said. “Next thing you know 10, 20.”

The 2017 walk attracted about 100 participants, and students from the Diamond Marching Band participated. His goal is to eventually get the entire university to walk.

For Roman, the cause hits close to home. His cousin died from breast cancer and his wife is fighting the disease. Watching his family members battle breast cancer drove him to raise awareness, he said.

Dara Rimes, the maintenance operations coordinator at Temple, said Roman works tirelessly to get the word out about the cause and he is “a constant ball of energy.”

“He’s out there walking and passing out ribbons and the whole nine yards,” she said. “I don’t think he thought it was going to grow as big as it has.”

Roman raises awareness by chatting with students in White Hall, handing out ribbons and putting up flyers.

But his hard work, passion and involvement with the students doesn’t end when October is over.

Sha’-Lee Bullock, the front desk manager at Morgan Hall South, where Roman used to work, said Roman works without complaint and invests a lot of time getting to know students.

“He makes them feel welcome, he cheers them up,” Bullock said. “If a student’s in crisis, he will be the first one to know.”

Roman’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. He received the Organizational Values Award for Inclusiveness in May 2018 for exemplifying the values of the Division of Student Affairs.

Roman’s passion is so well known by his co-workers that they dedicated a wall in the maintenance operations office to his awareness efforts. While Roman was on vacation last year, the team painted one of the walls pink with a large pink ribbon, giving Roman a space to hang pictures from his walks every year.

“It brought me to tears because I wasn’t expecting that,” Roman said. “I had nothing to say. I was speechless.”

Roman doesn’t plan to stop raising awareness any time soon.

“It’s something that I love to do,” he said. “It is my passion and I’m not going to change that for the world.”

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