When you think about the unsung heroes of Castleton University, you may think of professors or advisors, but the behind-the-scenes heroes that you never really see are the staff members in the facilities department.
From being on-call 24 hours every day of the week, to fixing damages done across campus, these men and women put their heart and soul into our beloved university.
“They work extremely hard, and I believe that many people take their hard work for granted,” said Brynna Carper, a senior and former work-study student in the facilities department.
Not only do the workers have to keep our campus looking good by doing landscaping and preparing for events, they also have to clean up after the students who damage property.
“It still bothers me now, but not as much as it did 10 years ago when I first started working here,” said Bill Bunker, referring to students “maliciously” damaging parts of the school.
Bunker is the senior maintenance technician.
“If you get off the elevator on the third floor of Castleton Hall, somebody had kicked a huge hole in the wall, so I fixed it,” he said. “Came back literally the next day and they did it again.”
After the third time, he told his boss that he wasn’t going to fix it.
“So they brought in the dean of students from over in Woodruff and he was pissed too,” Bunker said.
After a while, damages become something that these workers just have to deal with. When you put a massive group of 18 to 22-year-olds in one area, there are bound to be some damages.
“It comes to a point where, it’s my job, I don’t care. Go ahead, punch a hole in the wall, you guys are going to have to pay for it,” Bunker said with a laugh.
There is one question that always runs through the minds of the maintenance workers at Castleton, which is directed at the students. Would you do this to your own home?
Some lucky students get to see first hand all of the hard work that they do on campus. Every summer four to five students are chosen, after an application and interview, to be on a paint crew for Bunker that re-paints the dorm buildings, hallways, and offices.
“I loved working for Bill and the entire staff,” Carper said. “They were all very friendly and so easy to get along with.”
About a year ago, Carper was in a car accident that left her with two broken legs and a broken arm. Bunker and his wife went to visit her at her home and brought her a basket full of get-well gifts.
“Everybody over there was very friendly and always seemed to try to help us with what we needed,” said Marlayna Rheaume, another summer work-study student on the paint crew. “They work very hard to keep our campus clean and looking nice.”
The maintenance team could be called from their homes at any hour of the night to come and fix something on campus. If a room has a broken doorknob and a student can’t get into their room, one of the maintenance guys is called from their beds so the student can get into theirs.
“I think that the students should help out the staff when they need it,” Rheaume said. “It takes time and money to repair those things.
While the people who build, fix, and maintain everything on campus are hugely important to our school, the housekeepers in the dorms also play a major role.
“Students trash their dorms and expect the maintenance staff to clean everything up for them. I don’t think it’s right,” Carper said. “The students need to be cleaner and kinder.”
Coming from a student, that it just what the maintenance workers like to hear.
“There are people that deserve more pats on the back than myself,” Bunker said. “Look at the housekeepers in the buildings, you know? Oh God. I can’t even imagine some of the messes they have to clean up and the stuff they see.”
“Some of these kids are pigs,” he said.