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Davis, California

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Campus custodians, groundskeepers earn time and half for Picnic Day work

All throughout and following the events of Picnic Day 2013, campus custodians and groundskeepers will be on site to sort through the mess that will most expectedly be left behind.

David Chulick, senior custodian and UC Davis custodian of 15 years, will begin his day at 6 a.m. along with another custodian to retrieve the master keys. Opening all of the buildings will take an hour and a half.

Before the day’s start, bathrooms will be stocked and waste receptacles will be set up by a number of other custodians.

“The difference between 30,000 people being here and 100,000 is quite a bit. The bathrooms are messier than a normal workday,” Chulick said.

During Picnic Day, two custodians will work a 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, then other custodians will opt to work the wing shift (3 p.m. to midnight). Many of the day’s earliest events begin at 8 a.m.

On Picnic Day, custodians can work an additional eight hours for time and a half, Chulick said.

Campus custodians can be paid up to $14 an hour, depending on their expertise, which can equate to up to $21 an hour on Picnic Day.

Saleshni Singh, assistant superintendent of Custodial Services, said the division ensures that enough supplies are ordered before the event and that all custodians are met with to ensure that they are aware of what areas they will be tending to.

In total there are 162 custodians in the division.

“They have to rush throughout the end of the day to make sure the lobbies and first floors are presentable for Monday,” Singh said.

Custodial Services has also been active in supporting the campus zero-waste initiative, which aims to make the campus waste-free by 2020. Custodians will place zero-waste bins around campus that allocate sections for compost materials, recyclables and landfill-bound items on the morning of Picnic Day. Singh said there have been past instances where bins would be full mid-day because they were stationed the day before the event. Custodians had to then revisit and empty them.

UC Davis groundskeepers also assist in campus zero-waste efforts by managing zero-waste zones on the Quad, according to Facilities Management Grounds supervisor Tyson Mantor.

“The Quad may produce zero-waste, but with zero-waste comes extra work (mostly accounting for the compost generated) — work that we are happy to perform,” he said in an email interview.

Picnic Day teams, organized by the Picnic Day Planning Committee, are also assigned to make sure there are labeled trash receptacles for people to use.

“It all comes down to mutual respect for the campus. As long as people are aware and conscious of the cleanliness of the campus, we shouldn’t have a problem,” said Jonathan Wu, chair of the board of directors of the Picnic Day Planning Committee.

Wu said that there are many volunteers from different campus or community organizations — including the Picnic Day Board — that come to the campus on Sunday to help finish cleaning.

Most of the cleaning by Custodial Services is finished before Sunday, according to Chulick. One person is assigned to each building to clean the day of the event.

Chulick said much of the mess is in Rock Hall, formerly called Chem 194. There is usually trash in the whole room, including the seats and lecture area. Plus, the Chemistry Club Magic Show, an annual Picnic Day staple, usually leaves a blanket of confetti on the floor.

The Grounds Division of UC Davis Facilities Management is also integral in the Picnic Day cleanup process. They place extra trash and recycling receptacles around campus and then service them throughout the day, where they are needed, according to Mantor.

“Groundskeepers are responsible for keeping the campus neat and tidy, all while helping ensure a safe environment — a campus [steward] of sorts,” Mantor said.

On average, about 10 emergency work order calls are placed on Picnic Day. Singh said that many of the calls concern work in one of a handful of buildings that Custodial Services does not maintain (ARC, Alumni Center, Freeborn Hall, Memorial Union, Memorial Union Lodges and the Silo). Calls include issues such as spilled coffee, locked doors and clogged toilets. The emergency line is attended until 3 a.m.

Chulick said that some buildings have different cleanliness specifications than others and are cleaned by exterior companies.

Campus work orders can now be reported using a smartphone on the CitySourced application. Users can take photos, link the GPS coordinates and submit the report.

A full list of UC Davis facility services can be found at campus-care.ucdavis.edu/services.

MUNA SADEK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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