As students prepare to move out, the Housing Department is gearing up for the summer season.
Students may think the dorms empty out over the summer, but the opposite is true. Summer is a vital time for housing to complete projects so facilities are ready for the fall.
Some projects include hard floor refinishing, carpet extraction, restroom power washing, light fixture cleaning and interior window washing, said director of custodial services Kelly Everding. The custodial team will tackle around 230 projects this summer.
“We spend months planning and preparing for projects, all with the goal of maintaining buildings and providing a clean learning environment for the students,” Everding said.
The custodial team will face new “challenges” because they will be hosting the Special Olympics Camp in May and maintaining the new Commons space in North Complex.
“When the Commons is fully (completed), it will add an additional 19,000 square feet of academic space for Custodial to support,” Everding said. “We are still in the process of determining how best to utilize our resources to service this exciting new space when it comes online fully later this year.”
These projects are worked on by an additional 10 temporary staff members to the custodial team.
In addition to the custodial team, summer Housing Assistants (formally referred to as summer Residential Assistants) also work on the upkeep of the dorms.
Naomi Giesen, a summer HA last year, said a lot of the day-to-day work includes desk shifts engaging with people coming in and out.
“We also do some prep for camps, so when a camp comes in we have to have their keys and their access cards prepped,” Giesen said. “We also prep the rooms, make sure they have trash cans and liners, make sure that there are no facility issues. And then we have 14 days where we are on duty.”
According to housing’s official description of the RA position, those 14 days on duty mean, “when on-call, RAs are expected to make three community walks of their residence hall and/or assigned areas.”
However, the biggest difference between a school year RA and a summer HA is interaction with residents, Giesen said.
“We’re more focused on the campus recruitment that is involved with having camps and conferences come to stay with us,” Giesen said. “We want to encourage a good environment for the camps and conferences because they will talk about us later to people that they know to other people that are putting on conferences and say ‘yeah we went to USD they were really good to us.’ We want to hear a lot of that.”
Before the custodial staff can even begin on their projects, dorm rooms need to be left in the condition they were received, Everding said.
“From a custodial perspective, we are able to work most effectively in spaces that are clear and prepared for service,” Everding said. “With full and dynamic summer project and camp schedules, using our staff resources efficiently is a necessity. We appreciate students supporting us in this process by cleaning out their rooms or apartments prior to moving out.”