KUTZTOWN, PA – KUDOS, Kutztown University’s Dedication to Outstanding Service, focuses on university administrative offices and the individuals within it, giving the campus community a look inside the working areas on campus.
This week, University Relations (UR) sat down with the Office of Education and General (E&G) Custodial Services to get an inside look at the dedicated individuals who take care of KU’s students by maintaining a clean and healthy environment to live and learn.
UR: Would you introduce yourselves and tell us how long you’ve been with KU?
PM: My name is Paul Mackewicz, custodial manager, and I am starting my 15th year at KU.
LH: My name is Lynn Hilbert. I’ve been at KU for 20 years.
JJ: Joyce James, custodial C2, I’ve been at KU for more than 22 years.
UR: What is your department’s role and mission at the university?
PM: Our role is to provide a clean and sanitary environment for the learning process to take place and also for people to live and work. We have a lot of students on campus and athletic events and so forth. We feel a call to service.
UR: Can you explain your department’s staff make-up and responsibilities?
PM: We have about 50 staff members right now that are servicing the academic, athletic and administrative buildings on campus. We have a broad mix of people from all different types of backgrounds and a good mix of women and men.
JJ: A lot of cleaning responsibilities. Personally, where I clean does not have a lot of students going in and out of it. Although, I do now have one area in Old Main that caters to a lot of students. I have a whole lot of faculty and staff areas that I take care of.
LH: I clean in Boehm Science Center, so I have lots of students in and out. It keeps me busy. I clean bathrooms and common areas.
JJ: We have a first, second and third shift, so it’s all split up and divided into who has the common areas, stairwells, hallways, classrooms, bathrooms – we are all responsible for all types of cleaning.
UR: How does your department serve students and the campus community?
PM: There’s a lot we do with the students, faculty and staff; especially with special events, when there’s constant activity and everything is going on. It could be a performance in Schaeffer, helping to prepare, and occasionally we help set up things as well as preparation and cleaning. There are athletic events constantly, whether it be a football game, soccer, basketball, wrestling, etc. Cultural events in the Georgian Room, recitals, music events – we always play a role in that. We like that we’re kind of in the background because that means we did our job. If we’re in the forefront, it means we probably needed to do something a little better. We take it pretty seriously. We enjoy it, we love the interaction. I’m kind of speaking for the whole department when I say that, but it’s a service-oriented office and you have to be a people-person, or people-people. It’s important.
JJ: We also don’t just serve the students that are here on campus. We serve visiting students that come in from other schools, high schools and whatnot; people that are visiting to possibly come here. We have the Science Olympiad and that includes students from all different high schools.
UR: What are the points of pride in your department?
LH: I, personally, take pride in my bathrooms. My bathrooms are spotless.
JJ: I take pride in my work ethic along with my cleaning.
PM: The work-related duties are extremely important, that’s primarily why we’re here; but we often get opportunities to meet with other staff and students on a personal level and that’s where it’s really gratifying for me. Sometimes it could be a difficult moment and the staff and students, especially, get used to us being there. They know they can rely on us or know our personalities and we support them with all kinds of things. Maybe they’re going through something personally and you can lend a kind ear or point them to where there’s a resource on campus and help them find that assistance they might need. I know all custodians do that. They really do take a personal interest in who they’re serving.
UR: What would you like people to know about your department that they may not know already?
JJ: We do have a lot of parents that are on campus when there are visitation days, parents and students. We like to show them around. Lots of parents get lost on campus, delivery people get lost on campus. People have no idea where the dorms are and they’re coming to visit their child, so we direct them. Sometimes I’ll actually drive over, in the truck, on campus and show them where they’re located. They follow me. I make sure I get them where they need to be. We also direct them over to public safety or certain departments.
PM: We have a math event this weekend and we have people coming in special for the Academic Forum and Boehm to clean, off-shift, in order to prepare for several hundred people that we are anticipating. It could even be church services. We have church services on campus. There’s a really wide variety of activities that go on, in addition to the academic areas, which is our primary mission.
UR: How can the campus community learn more or become involved with your department?
LH: Put a work order in.
PM: We don’t have volunteer opportunities at this time. I agree with Lyn that work orders are a really good thing. I know that sometimes, customers are a little reluctant to put a work order in because they feel it might shed an unfavorable light on something, but the reality is we really want to give good service as best we can and sometimes we’re not aware. If you make us aware, we will work hard to try and rectify any issues or concerns that people have.
There’s two ways: you can call the Work Control Center. If you’re on a campus line, it’s extension 31594 and Laura Jones or a representative will take your information and put the order in. But the easiest and best way, if you have a smartphone or computer – go online on the Facilities website, into the TMA system and put in a work request. It’s really that simple.
UR: What’s your favorite thing about your KU experience?
PM: I would say the interaction with students on a personal level. I’ve really gotten to know quite a few students, especially in the art program for some reason. I really enjoy the art program. All the programs are great. I just really enjoy the visual arts, especially. That’s an awful lot of fun in Sharadin, just to walk through and see everything that’s displayed in there; and it changes, all the time. I am actually a graduate of KU, 1987. I was a secondary education major and somehow found myself back here. I’m really grateful to be at KU.
LH: I also like the student interaction, along with the staff interaction. It makes the day go by. I have a strong team.
JJ: I love the students although I don’t work with a lot of students or have interactions with a lot of them. Prior, I worked for food service for 15 years. That was every day, three meals a day. Then when I came over here, I was placed in the Student Union Building, I constantly saw students in and out. Then I was in C-wing (Old Main) when they had music majors over there until they moved to Schaeffer Auditorium. I had students in and out. I knew them by name – when they came here, when they graduated, I went to their recitals and everything. I see them in town now because I live right in town.
UR: What does “It’s Good to be Golden” mean to you?
PM: It means that you have an opportunity to improve yourself at a place that is working hard to give you those opportunities. That’s what it means to me. Graduating from here in ’87 did a lot for me. KU has made great strides even since then and it continues to improve. I’m blessed to be working here and I have a lot of gratitude for this place.
JJ: It’s being part of a big family. We’re all Golden Bears here. So, one way or another, you’re pulling your weight in the family and if you’re not, someone’s there to help you. We give each other a hand.
LH: I agree with Joyce. It is like a big family and it’s great to work with all the people we work with, including students and other staff.