Despite the dirty job that awaited, BYU ROTC cadets charged at the piles of trash left behind by thousands of football fans, eager to make the trash disappear. Among the sounds of brooms brushing across the aluminum benches and the stomping of busy feet, yells of encouragement echoed throughout the stadium.
“Let’s hear some motivation,” one cadet yelled, followed by uncanny shouts of acknowledgement.
After every BYU home football game, the Air Force and Army ROTC cadets clean the entire LaVell Edwards Stadium. On Saturday, Sept. 8, they set a personal record of 2 hours and 6 minutes, and yes, that is fast compared to other days.
“Some nights it takes us between two and a half to three and a half hours depending on the weather and how fast we work,” Cadet Captain Andrew Hodges said. “But we know that we are going to break our record every game this year. We are planning on under two hours for the next game.”
Each cadet is required to be present, and they are assigned certain sections of the stadium, as well as certain jobs. Some sweep all the trash to the aisles, while others unscrew every cap off of every bottle for recycling. Other cadets prepare long fire hoses for the final stage of the cleaning process.
Eric Smith, cadet third class captain, manning one of the hoses, said the clean-up organization is very well thought out and creates a fun atmosphere.
“All the cadets are organized into flights, or squads,” Smith said. “We are all assigned a different section of the stadium, and we all compete amongst ourselves to see who can get it done more quickly, and more cleanly.”
Cleanliness is the goal, though not always easy to achieve. The cadets number 250, while LaVell Edwards Stadium seats about 60,000 people; the amount of trash that comes from that many people is not hard to imagine.
Cadet Matthew Hurst, a freshman 100 cadet, said this most recent clean-up was much easier than his first in a very peculiar way. It was not because there were fewer fans to make a mess or because less frozen lemonade had been spilled, but because there were not as many pom-poms.
“This one is better,” Hurst said. “The pom-poms were brutal.”
Despite the smell, Hurst enjoys cleaning because it is “good, honest work,” and the job gets done quickly when everyone works together. Let’s just hope, for their sakes, that there is less trash when the snow starts to fall.