In an effort to promote inclusion on campus, staff members from several Clemson University financial departments participated in ‘A Day in the Life of University Facilities,’ which allowed participants the chance to experience a typical work day for many Facilities employees: specifically, those in the areas of Custodial, Landscape, and Maintenance Services.
Sierra Holland, Administrative Coordinator to Brett Dalton and main organizer of the event, stated, “A Day in University Facilities was Brett’s idea. He really pushed to make this happen, as an opportunity for the CONNECT for Inclusion cohorts to gain a better appreciation of the effort it takes for our team members in Facilities to make our campus look as beautiful as it does. Going into the event, there was some reluctance as to the ‘real’ purpose behind having the cohort members spend a day in Facilities, as there was some concern about ulterior motives. There were complaints about starting the day at 4:30am with our custodial team members, as some had to make adjustments to their personal lives. But that is part of appreciating what other team members do. I take my daughter to school and wish her a good day. After having to be at work at 4:30am, I now have a greater appreciation for that time with her. I think once people got over being here so early, the day was a real success. I’ve received so many requests asking that we make this day a recurring event! Perhaps the biggest win is the number of suggestions I’ve received from the CONNECT for Inclusion cohort members advocating for our Facilities team members and the different things we can do to help make their working environment more comfortable – from dri-fit shirts for landscaping and grounds team members, to turning on the air conditioning/heat earlier for our custodial partners – the increased consideration for others has been touching to hear.”
Chris Miller, University Facilities Customer Service Manager, assisted with the planning of the two-day event. According to Chris, ‘Day in the Life’ provided a unique opportunity for the CONNECT for Inclusion cohorts to work alongside our frontline technicians. After speaking with many of the cohorts afterward, it was apparent that they not only came away a different perspective, but gained even more appreciation for what the Facilities’ staff members do for the University day-in and day-out.
“Brett Dalton’s vision for this event really came to life when you saw Todd Barnette painting athletic fields on a hot sunny day, Shirley Alexander and Lori Brierre insulating piping in a steamy Sirrine mechanical room, or Steve Crump spreading what seemed like endless yards of mulch behind ASC. It really was a great experience for both the cohorts and their Facilities partners. Even if it did start at 4:30am!” Chris said.
To kick off the event, cohorts joined the Custodial Department for their daily Safety Growl, which covered the negative effects of working while tired. From there, each cohort was paired with a custodian and worked side-by-side with them for 2 hours in the custodian’s assigned building. Next, the cohorts attended the Landscape Services Safety Growl where they learned how to identify and treat exposure to harmful plants like Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac. Everyone then traveled to the Academic Success Center to work with Landscape crews to re-mulch, pull weeds, and plant flowers in the area for 2 hours. The final leg of the day had each cohort partnering with a maintenance technician for 2 hours and assisting in various projects, such as painting athletic fields, insulating steam lines, pouring concrete, and installing electrical conduit.