Get to Know Housing Staff: Chia Ly

What is your name and how long have you been in your current position?

My name is Chia Ly (aka “chai” latte for easier enunciation). The “chia pet” old joke has been in my shadow for as long as I can remember. I would have a few words with the guy who decided on that spelling when a time machine will become available. I have been with the A-Team of Housing for 4 years.

What is your current role in University Housing?

I am a Custodian for Night Shift. Honestly, I think our role falls in a certain gray area between custodial work and customer service. Since we interact with residents/guests on a regular basis, we have an image, a standard of Housing to represent. Beside maintaining a top quality of cleanness through our residence halls, customer satisfaction is no doubt our priority number one.

How long have you been with University Housing? Other campus positions?

I have been with Housing for the past 4 short years, and so far, I have really enjoy the journey.

What do you do on a typical day in your job?

To simplify a bit, let’s say during an academic year, we are responsible for a designated area called a run. Those runs are the residence halls assigned to Housing such as “pretty Witte,” which we make sure stays the prettiest in town.

What’s your favorite thing about working with students who are living on campus?

Contrary to an ordinary workplace where we meet with the same John Doe, almost everyday on campus, we are with new students. There’s always a new face with a new mentality/perspective to interacting with.

What is a past work accomplishment that you’re proud of?

Although it has been 4 years since I joined Housing, I believe I did succeed at keeping a consistent pace in my daily tasks and strive to reach a higher standard of what is expected from us, day after day.

What is a secret talent that your co-workers may not know about?

If I do have a secret talent, I believe I would be on stage stunning all the judges, including Simon Cowell.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the far land of Charlemagne across the vast sea. As a kid, I seriously believed I would be the next Napoleon.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

The best place in the world is where your heart is.

What are you passionate about?

Space and time. Everything the universe has yet to teach us, but unfortunately my small human brain has not evolved enough to understand all the mysteries. To understand where humanity is going, first we must understand where it is coming from. The history of humankind is marvelous.

What is your favorite TV show, movie, or book?

In a galaxy far, far away [Star Wars] where one ring to rule them all has been forged in secrecy [Lord of the Rings]. And for anyone who can read the beautiful French language, La nuit des temps, by Rene Barjavel, is my favorite book. According to Wikipedia, it has been translated to Shakespeare’s tongue, under the title The Ice People. Personally, that title doesn’t really make sense to the whole story, but what the heck, I am a custodial professional, not an editor.

What is your favorite family/home tradition?

I don’t have any “real” traditions which I live by. I am a very simple man with a simple mantra.


If you would like to see one of your coworkers featured in a future issue, email marketing@housing.wisc.edu with your coworker’s name and their supervisor’s name.