Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Valdes ’27: Behind Brown — Rose Silveira

Behind Brown is a series of vignettes about staff members of the University. 

In the mornings, you can find Miss Rose by her storage-room-turned-office on the ground floor between Morris and Champlin halls. The walls boast countless memorabilia: a vintage Christmas card; framed pictures from past commencements; dozens of thank-you notes; a yellowed newspaper clipping of outside linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams Michael Hoecht in their 2022 Super Bowl win, with “lived in 2nd floor Champlin'' carefully written in the margins above it in red marker— it’s the unofficial Champlin Hall museum. 

Brown’s custodial service, divided among eight supervisors, operates five days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Custodians typically clean bathrooms, vacuum hallways, wipe down common areas, and are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of campus buildings. On extreme snow days, custodians in residence halls are expected to shovel snow and salt the pavement outside of their buildings. The job is taxing, but what makes matters worse is the unpredictable nature of management. Once you start to pay close attention, you’ll notice things like how janitorial staff aren’t allowed to sit in communal lounges or kitchens to rest. With so much that goes on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, the best way to show the utmost respect and advocate for the people who work tirelessly to make our campus a home is by getting to know them. 

A custodian at Brown for the last 26 years, “Miss Rose” Silveira is an institution. Donning a Joan Jett-esque coiffure and a discontinued Maybelline lipstick in 970 Smoked Silver, she’s responsible for Champlin’s unique tidiness. Miss Rose is Portuguese, though she came to the United States as a child. She commutes to Brown from her home in Bristol, braving rush hour traffic every day — especially since the closure of the Washington Bridge.


“I come to work and I do everything for my kids,” Miss Rose proudly stated. “I go above and beyond for these kids. And I was talking to Zach upstairs on the second floor. He told me he lived in Andrews, Wayland, and Grad Center. And he said Champlin was the cleanest building he's lived in.” 

Brown’s students lie at the heart of why Rose takes such pride in her job. Standing outside of her office, I witnessed a Champlin resident familiarly greet her with a big hug. “Let me know when I can come by and clean the bathroom today, honey,” Rose said.

Miss Rose knows each of her favorite residents and their rooms by name. Having worked at Brown for so many years, she’s accumulated a number of stories about notable alumni, like Mitchell Moranis, son of actor Rick Moranis.

“One time, I was walking down the street and he gave me a hug and he said ‘Oh, you’re one of the nicest people I ever met.’ And I asked him where he was living, and he said he lived in Andrews. He would come all the way over here just to talk to me,” she shared. 

Over the years, Miss Rose has perfected her routine: Grab the keys, do the trash, clean the mosque, basement floor, first-floor kitchen, and then check the bathrooms. She often works overtime when she cleans other buildings. 

“I'm always doing stuff. I like to go to rock concerts,” she said, scrolling through past photos of her two daughters and five grandchildren to show me a picture of her and her nephew on the ground floor of a Kiss concert. “I love to see concerts. I saw Meat Loaf in concert. I saw Styx. I saw Pat Benatar. I love music.”

Miss Rose’s distinctive Joan Jett look is self-described: “Yeah, a lot of kids like it. A lot of students tell me, ‘Miss Rose, I like the way you look.’ I used to have a mullet going on back in high school. It was crazy.” 

Rose’s impact on her residents is not lost on her. “It means a lot because the kids, they know me. I'm the first person they see when they're freshmen,” she said. 

Miss Rose’s effect on students is the result of her personal dedication to doing her job and a certain protectiveness over Champlin in particular. “Champlin’s been my home for 26 years. I've never once been on temporary disability insurance). I've never once been out sick. I had thyroid cancer. I don't have a thyroid. But I came to work and I do everything for my kids,” she restated. 

When asked about her relationship with former residents, she said: “A lot of students come for their reunions. There was a lady last year, she was in her 40s, and she wanted to come see me. She lived here in 1999. And they all ask, is Rose still here? Is Rose still here?” In 2001, Miss Rose was awarded the Gaspar Arzoomenian Award for outstanding Facilities Management union employee. 


Deeply kind and resilient with a heart for justice, it is no surprise that she strikes a chord with so many students here at Brown. At the end of our interview, she asked me where I was living, so I told Miss Rose I lived in Andrews, to which she responded, “East or west?” I answered, and she immediately replied, “Oh, you’ve got Edgar. He’s good. He’s new.” And all I could think about was: I feel like I should already know that. Many of us have experienced how living in a communal space takes a good amount of time to adjust to. We rarely outwardly appreciate just how much having a clean space to live in facilitates this transition, and it's all thanks to the work of the people behind Brown. 

If you see Rose around campus — and you’ll know when you do — stop for a chat. I promise you’ll get more out of it than the five minutes you miss from your study session in Faunce. And yes, she cleans Faunce too.

Behind Brown is written by columnist Camila Valdes ’27, who can be reached at Please send responses to this column to and other opinions to

Get The Herald delivered to your inbox daily.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.