The Guardian of the Grounds

Photo courtesy of Michele Navarro, the grounds manager.

With Point Loma Nazarene University being one of the most beautiful campuses on the West Coast, students and faculty owe the Manager of Grounds, Michele Navarro, a round of applause. 

Michele has been working hard at the PLNU campus since 2016 alongside her husband, Randy Navarro. Michele started out as gardener, but as her determination began to get noticed, she moved her way up to being a supervisor, then assistant manager and now, head Manager of Grounds. Being Grounds Manager for three years now, Michele oversees 90 acres of campus in relation to all things plant, tree, sidewalk, parking lots and roads. Michele said she oversees everything but the buildings.

Michele has worked hard to make small, intimate spaces around campus where students can find peace and a place to feel safe. These spaces include the hangout area in front of Taylor Hall and the faux lawn on the side of the cafeteria. She also provided umbrellas for each table on Caf lane, and gave the campus a sense of home by hanging lights throughout the school. It is easy to say that the campus has flourished since Michele has been in charge. 

The Vice President for University Services, Jeff Bolster, said “she does amazing work for us every day.” 

Raigenn Basnight, a second-year open major, said that she and her friends were walking out of the cafeteria one day when they saw a man taking down the string lights from the palm trees. Saddened, they let out a sigh of disappointment and asked him why he was removing the lights. He responded that they were old and needed replacing and that he would be putting new ones up. Raigenn and her friends let out a huge “thank you!” to the man. He said, “don’t thank me, thank Michele!” The worker continued to tell the girls about what an outstanding woman Michele is and the passion she has for the students here at PLNU. 

Michele starts her mornings of hard work at the early hour of 6 a.m. without complaint. If you watch Michele, she makes the job look simple, but it is not as easy as you think. 

“Finding a balance that pleases everyone is the most difficult part of my job. Before I make any decision I need to think about how it will affect the students, faculty, classes and the campus life,” Michele said.  

However, Michele seems to have found the secret to this because staff and students remain very grateful for Michele and her work. She remains passionate about what she does. 

“There is nothing better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they realize something was done for them,” Michele said. 

Michele has a heart for God, His people and this beautiful campus. 

“Why would you want to be inside, when you live on a campus like this!” Michele said. 

While a lot of PLNU’s beauty is natural, we owe much of it to the dedication of Michele and her staff. Michele has learned many things throughout her life and provided a piece of wisdom to the PLNU community— “to give it your all always.” 

“If you give it one-hundred percent of yourself, whether it is a success or a failure, that is all anyone can ask for,” Michele said. “I think people tend to base things off of success or failure, but I think it should be if you have given your 100% and not half-a**** it.” 

Michele has done just that. She has proven to the people of this campus that she will continue to always give 100% of herself over and over again. So whenever you are admiring the strung lights, clean roads, greenery and beauty of PLNU’s campus, do not forget to give thanks to our wonderful Grounds Manager, Michele Navarro. 

Written By: Gracie Heffington