Geneseo custodians: keeping campus clean

It's rare to walk through a residence hall or academic building during the day without being greeted by Geneseo's custodial staff, a group of over 80 employees responsible for the continual upkeep of buildings on campus.

Though many associate their job primarily with cleaning, custodians are responsible for a number of various tasks, many unnoticed but all vital to the functioning of the college.

"As for a set schedule…there isn't one," said custodian Karen Rockhill, when describing a typical day. Though there are three separate shifts that custodians follow, ensuring all buildings have round-the-clock coverage, those who are present during the day are typically on campus by 7 a.m.

Custodians must remain on-call for emergencies and certain situations, such as a flood or when a door needs to be unlocked at an unusual hour. "We're a busy team," noted Deb Mott, a custodian in Schrader Hall.

Each day, the custodial staff runs through a routine cleaning of all buildings. "You have to be there every day," explained Victor Torres, another custodian in Schrader Hall. "You can have [a building] sparkling, but then you have to do the same process all over again."

In addition to general maintenance, custodians also receive work orders for specific jobs throughout the week. For example, Torres was recently given a work order to clean up the remaining broken glass in the ice rink, a result of the infamous glass-breaking body check during the Geneseo versus Oswego game last Friday.

But, as Torres explained, "We do a lot of things other than cleaning." Other duties include unlocking the many academic buildings in the morning, setting up for sporting events, changing light bulbs and restocking bathrooms.

The impending change in weather will also bring along another slew of necessary projects, such as shoveling snow and icing walks.

"It's a lot of manual labor and you have to be physically ready," Rockhill said. This busy schedule "can get hectic at times," she said, especially during holidays, when staff numbers are lower. "Those days are busy, but they go by fast."

Though the job is demanding, the staff is able to, "roll with the punches," Mott said.

Rockhill agreed, saying, "The work can get frustrating at times, but you get done what you have to get done."

She described some aspects of her job as rewarding, most notably the positive interactions with the staff and students she comes in contact with each day in her work.