Each night when the majority of activity within campus buildings has quiet down and lights are darkened, there is a team of about 45 people who are checking in to begin their work. It is the ideal time for this team to do what they do best—prepare the buildings for another day of discovery, learning, questioning, research, and business.

Man dragging a net across the surface of a swimming pool.

Corey Jenkins cleaning the Horton Pool.

The third shift Building Service Workers (BSWs) are the unseen team who clean 18 buildings encompassing dining areas and athletic facilities like the Fitness Center, Hancock Stadium, Horton (including pool), and part of Redbird Arena. To effectively cover this large area, there are specific tasks that are done on a daily or weekly rotation. (If faculty or staff would like a copy of the cleaning schedule for their building, please contact Sandy in Building Services at srschme@IllinoisState.edu.)

Man standing with a cleaning cart.

Barry Sarmiento working at Horton South.

A portion of staff is assigned to clean specific building(s) while others are assigned as relief staff to cover absences and/or special projects. Many times staff will complete their building(s) and then go wherever there is a need to ensure all cleaning commitments are completed. Teamwork is certainly key to their success as cleaning a campus of this size is no small task.

Two people standing in front of the old Illinois State seal with the word University in the background.

L to R: Mackenzie Steidinger and Julia Geary working in the Bone Student Center.

With state budgets being tight, this team has been operating with smaller staff than normal until recently when they were able to hire 10 new employees. As Sonny Garcia, one of the third shift BSW foreman shared, this team really pulled together, recognizing what needed to be done and found a way to operate until more staff could be added. The BSWs understand how important their work is to everyone who uses the buildings they clean each night.

Similar to other departments within Facilities, BSWs are able to bid on shifts three times a year. While some people switch to second or first shift, many bid to stay on third. Garcia shared while the majority of third shift BSWs have been at ISU for eight years or less, there are also a couple that have been here for over 20 years. The 11 p.m.–7 a.m. shift is not for everyone, but for those individuals who are night owls and prefer the freedom of working in vacant buildings, it is a great fit for ISU and the BSWs. The work of the unseen is an extremely important component in the fulfillment of the Facility Services mission of providing a safe, functional, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sustainable buildings and grounds which are conducive to the delivery of education.