I'm a building service worker. I've been with the UI for 21 years.
I'm responsible for day-to-day cleaning at Barton Hall, [a residence hall]. Every day, I pick up the trash and recycling from each floor, sweep and mop the stairs, clean the 10 bathrooms, and vacuum the carpet in the hallways.
All of us [building service workers] have a good rapport with the students. They're like our kids. If it's cold out and they're leaving the building without a coat, we tell them to go get a coat on; or if it's raining, we tell them to go back to their rooms and get their umbrella.
Definitely. We clean the building from top to bottom. First we 'trash
out' all the buildings by getting out all the stuff the students leave behind:
carpets, bricks, plywood, everything they don't want to take home.
Then we start by cleaning everything: the lights, the lamps and the garbage cans. Then we wash the windows. That takes forever - about two weeks. In each room, we vacuum the beds and mattresses, then wash the mattresses off, vacuum out the decks of the beds, and lift out the decks and vacuum the drawer units underneath. That's hard physical work. The sweat just pours off everybody. Then we go back and wash all the furniture down with Murphy's Oil Soap and wash out the drawers, the beds, the desk chairs and the closet tops. After we're done with all that, we do the floors. We sweep, buff, mop, strip and then wax them. After that, we have what we call 'get ready week,' the week before all the students come back. We go through [the building] then and use furniture polish on everything.
I'm really surprised at some of the good stuff they leave. Sometimes there are TVs or VCRs. Someone once found a statue that turned out to be worth $20,000. The statue was stolen [from Krannert Art Museum's Gelvin Garden]. It was just going to be put in the trash, but instead it was put in the supervisor's office and someone recognized it. [The bronze female police officer sculpture by Tom Otterness was returned to KAM last spring after a year's absence.]
Definitely. When I get home, the first thing I do is take my shoes off and flop on the couch in front of the TV for an hour before I do anything else.
Summers are harder. We work without air conditioning, so it can be pretty hot. But I also like summers better because it's something different every day - different from the usual routine.
My students are the best. They catch you in the hallway and tell you
what they've been up to. It's like being family.