Written by Amanda Davis, Feature Editor
DAYTON, TN – Every weekday morning, the Bryan housekeepers arrive on campus at 6:00 a.m. The staff of eight people are assigned their own buildings to clean and maintain. They do not leave work until 2:30 p.m. The housekeeping staff sweep and vacuum the floors, take out the trash, and wipe down the doors and windows.
Lisa Guthrie cleans and maintains Mercer Hall, the largest building on campus. She starts her mornings by vacuuming all three floors, a task that takes her almost two hours. Hunter Walker, a work study student, cleans the classrooms at night, and if he can’t finish a classroom, Megan Walker, a housekeeper will come in the morning and clean.
Guthrie says that the hardest part of her job is cleaning the labs on the third floor. She cannot clean if there are people in the labs, and this often proves to be challenging.
“In Huston you guys are gone during the day, most of the time to class, so there’s a lot of time where there’s nobody there. But over here it’s a public building, so there’s always people there,” Guthrie said.
Renee Shook, the Environmental Services Supervisor, has been working at Bryan for seven years. Shook is responsible for cleaning Stophel Center and vacuuming the third and fourth floors of Woodlee. She loves interacting with and getting to know students and she still talks with several graduate students. The ability to impact people is her favorite part of the job.
Shook remembers a particular time when she talked to several students on the women’s basketball team. “They got together and bought me a bouquet of flowers for appreciation, that really touched me,” Shook said.
Lisa Neal was hired to clean Latimer Student Center two years ago, right before Covid sent students home for the semester. She remembers thoroughly cleaning all the dorms, disinfecting surfaces, and taking many extra precautions to ensure campus safety.
According to Shook, the Housekeepers’ workload increases during the summer. After students leave, the housekeeping team has a month to deep clean all the dorm buildings before the first summer camp arrives. They are responsible for cleaning air conditioners, windows, beds, cabinets and floors.
Shook places a strong emphasis on community. “I always tell my crew, ‘There’s no I in team,” Shook said. Whenever someone cannot come into work, either Shook or another housekeeper will do their job for them.
Amanda Davis is a sophomore communications major and creative writing minor at Bryan College. She is a Kansas City native and loves reading, writing and photography.