Custodians bring joy to campus
The men and women behind the scenes make this campus look immaculate. | Julianna Hernandez/THE CHIMES
Magically, the hair in the shower, the lint on the carpet and the coffee grounds on the counter disappear every day before most students return from class.
The magicians behind the spontaneous cleanliness of residence halls and every other place on campus are the custodians who work for facility services. They can be found in the early morning to late afternoon with a rag in hand, wiping down microwaves or taking the trash out from halls. In general, they enjoy what they do, and for others, their work brings opportunity.
Custodians start their work days early, at 5 a.m.,with a meeting and a prayer, then they clean non-residential buildings. They eat lunch at 9 a.m., when most students eat breakfast, move on to residential halls at 10 a.m. and clean until 2 p.m. Many of the custodians develop relationships with residents on the floors they clean.
“It’s been a blessing for me to be here, but the students have been a blessing for myself, because they’re always willing to be, ‘How can I pray for you?’” said Donna Segovia, part time custodian in Blackstone Hall. “It just melts my heart when they even ask, to think that, or when they say ‘Thank you so much.’ It’s been a really big blessing.”
Students also work for facility services and testify to the good nature of the custodians.
“It’s also really awesome to see the way that they’re so diligent, but they really care about the school and the students most of all,” said Danielle McConnell, junior intercultural studies major and custodian of Stewart Hall.
Benefits of the job
While some see their work as a ministry to students, others appreciate the opportunities to work and provide a college education for their children. Facilities services provides on-campus jobs with flexible hours and leaves employees with the rest of the day free. Custodian of Blackstone Frank Duenes works in the morning until the afternoon and does sales on the side.
“The best thing is the community. That would be number one,” Duenes said. “Number two is the benefits. Part of that is my daughter will be able to come here next fall at 80 percent [tuition]. The following year it will be free, so it’s 100 percent after five years, which is a great benefit.”
Free tuition for their children and a Christian community remain a few of the benefits of working custodial.
“You know whenever people say, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ I say, ‘Living the dream,’” said Margaret Spradley, custodian for Blackstone. “Maybe cleaning toilets is not living the dream, but it’s a strange, weird humbling blessing to do that.”
Spradley continued to talk about the benefits of the job.
“For me, I remember when I got hired, my boss said it’s really not about the job,” Spradley said. “In this position, we actually get to be more intimate than even some of the professors do with the students. So, he said it’s really like a ministry that you’re getting paid for, and I always think about that.”