Coming clean

By on November 10, 2004

After a typical weekend at Quinnipiac University, it is not uncommon to stroll down the halls of dorms on campus and see beer cans strewn across the floor, half eaten slices of pizza, crumpled papers, graffiti covered walls, overturned chairs and even misplaced bodily fluids.

But what happens from there? Who takes care of the mess? It is fairly safe to assume that students have seen the men and women in blue uniforms that have to deal week after week with the “trail of terror” that students leave after a weekend of partying.

These people are the Quinnipiac University Facilities staff, and their job is to clean up after messy students everyday.

Thirty-seven year old Lisa Colvin, from New Haven, is one such woman. Colvin has been employed at Quinnipiac for a year and a half now and has worked in many different dorms on Campus.

She is currently assigned to Perlroth where her duties include cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the garbage, replacing the bags, and mopping the floors.

“What’s up? How you doin’?” is often the greeting that escapes Colvin’s lips as students cheerily greet her each morning on their way to class. Her upbeat attitude and infectious smile are a wonder. After all, she does arrive at 7:30 in the morning and works until 4 p.m. every day of the work week.

Students know her on a first name basis and even as she is being interviewed, residents interrupt with a friendly “hello” and “What’s goin’ on Lisa?”

“I like the kids here,” Colvin said. “It’s always hi Lisa, bye Lisa, How are you doin’ Lisa.”

Although most would assume that girls are generally cleaner than boys, Colvin sets the record straight.

In fact, she was hesitant to answer because she was afraid of offending anyone.

“Everybody’s pretty clean,” she said. “But I have to say the boys are cleaner. They definitely have the girls beat.”

She was surprised find this out, she said, especially since she learned in the beginning of the year that basketball players would be moving into Perlroth.

“What’s so shocking,” she said, “was that I thought the basketball players would be nasty, a mess. But if you go into their bathroom you say ‘this is so clean!’ But I still love my girls.”

Dirty bathrooms pale in comparison to some of the things Colvin has had to clean up in the past.

“The worst thing I ever had to clean up was someone’s throw-up from a sink in the Ledges,” she said. “But we have to clean it. I had to put three layers of plastic gloves on. It was the worst.”

Thankfully, things like that are unusual occurrences Colvin said.

“For the most part students are pretty respectable,” Colvin said. “They’re happy. I’m happy. I haven’t had any problems. Everyone respects me”

Even though most students are accommodating to her, Colvin mentions a few things that students could do to make her job a little easier.

“Students could clean up their common rooms,” she said. “It helps if I don’t have to step over things. I’m sleepy too! If they can do that than I’m straight.”

Over the years, students have shown their appreciation to Colvin with end of the year gifts.

“Last year some of my boys gave me gift certificates to Tonino’s and the girls gave me a gift certificate to get my nails done,” she said. “And they all gave me hugs and kisses. We had fun.”

Colvin takes pride in her job and her enjoyment is apparent by the big smile that never seems to leave her face.

“I like my job. I like working here,” she said. “Some people go home saying that they had a bad day at work but I don’t say that. I say that I had a good day and that’s every day.”


About Dana Owen