FGCU’s Campus Greeter Waves Hello to Mutual Respect


Green at his iconic Information Booth in 2012. Photo courtesy of Robert Green.

Emma Rodriguez, Staff Writer

A single interaction is sometimes all it takes to change someone’s day. Mutual respect can bring people joy amidst the woes of everyday life, where they may not receive the “time of day” from many.

FGCU’s campus greeter and Shreveport, Louisiana native Robert Green Jr. lives by that rule. Whether he’s giving people driving toward the campus loop a friendly wave, or helping a visitor who pulled up to his information booth on FGCU Blvd., he aims to make a positive impact on everyone he interacts with.

One could say that Green was born to greet people from the very beginning. As a child, he would always be waving at people in his hometown.

“When I was little, I’d be waving to people on the train as they went by,” Green said. “It was kind of feeling like practice for everything I’d be doing as an adult!’

Before beginning his first true greeting venture, Green prioritized his education. He received a full football scholarship to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, then transferred to UC Santa Barbara to obtain a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. After fulfilling a portion of his academic dream, Green aspired to serve his country.

In 1982, he enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF). He greeted USAF Academy visitors at its South Gate. There, he learned the purpose of his role, to make people’s days better. Often, people would return that energy. A massive first stage, the USAF Academy commanded greatness from Green, and without a doubt received it in his four years of service.

“I ended up greeting, I think it was 4.5 million people at the USAF Academy,” he said. “And at the end, General Kelly put up the United States flag at South Gate in my honor. I had recommendations from all the military branches, visitors, and the Academy.”

Following his tenure at the USAF academy, Green decided to continue his education and obtained a master’s degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Religion means a lot to Green and plays a role in his greeting philosophy. When asked for his opinion on the biblical phrase “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,”commonly shortened to “love thy neighbor,” he clapped, whooped, and exclaimed, “That’s it!”

“Back in biblical times, you had to wave your hands before you entered another country to let them know you came in peace,” Green said. “Doing that said, ‘This is a peaceful interaction. This is according to our regulation. We pride ourselves in courage, passion, honesty, all those things.’”

Green arrived at FGCU in 2005 as the Parking Services Representative. He expressed that no one knew about his previous achievements at the USAF and his academic credentials. This reflected the negative experiences he would have in his first position at the university.

“When I came here, they wanted me to do all this crazy stuff I wasn’t trained to do. It was workplace bullying,” Green said. “The people I reported it to claimed it didn’t exist. Because this was in 2005, shortly after the university got created, so everybody wanted you to do what they told you to do. No ifs, ands, or buts.”

Green shared that his perceived mistreatment goes against one of his greatest life-leading principles, mutual respect, treating one with respect and receiving it in return. He wishes for no employee, student or visitor of the university to have an experience that mirrors his first.

Because of this, Green’s outstanding professional and moral resumé contains a piece of FGCU Student Government legislation: The Robert Green Jr. FGCU Mutual Respect Resolution. The bill states and emphasizes that bullying of any kind is not tolerated and that developing mutually respectful relationships on campus helps the university live by its guiding principles.

Though his claim against his coworkers in his first position was never resolved, Green started greeting again in 2010. While his impact at the USAF was immeasurable, his tenure at FGCU is approaching that pinnacle.

“I’ve waved at 2.9 million people driving over here and have served over 350,000 who’ve drove up to the booth,” Green said. “I’ve gotten postcards from people all around the world that I’ve helped. I’ve been on TV, and on a podcast with WGCU. Greeting has given me everything.”