BYU morning custodians finish work before the day begins

Spencer Lowe cleans a bathroom in the Jesse Knight Building Wednesday morning. (Chris Bunker)
Spencer Lowe cleans a bathroom in the Jesse Knight Building Wednesday morning. (Chris Bunker)

Rise and shout has become rise and shine for some BYU students, as they wake earlier than their fellow classmates to go to work. They’re everywhere on campus, yet they’re often overlooked. They are BYU’s morning custodians.

Five RMs keep the early morning routine alive at the Harris Fine Arts Center. They clean windows and vacuum carpets. They reminisce about their missions. These five returned sister missionaries are just some of the few and the tired who seize the day before it has even started.

BYU morning custodial crews are more than window cleaners. Their janitorial jobs may not be glamorous, but they provide prime location and ideal work hours for hard working students.

Athena Kefalas, a junior from St. George who recently returned from serving in Russia, previously worked at the bakery on campus but interviewed for a custodial job because of the laid-back atmosphere.

“I like this job because I can do my own thing; there’s not much to it. It’s happy work and really chill,” Kefalas said.

For some, 4 a.m. is not ideal, but for junior Matthew Linford, the earlier the better. Linford, a 23-year-old from Boston studying computer science, has worked early mornings for eight months.

“I don’t like waking up, and I’d rather not be cleaning, but I get work done before the day even starts. It’s a convenient way to make money. I like being productive early,” Linford said.

For Cammie Steimle, earlier work means more time to take the right classes. Steimle, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles studying English teaching, enjoys the schedule.

“You can basically take any classes you want because work gets done really early. My schedule has been really nice because it doesn’t conflict with work,” Steimle said.

The BYU student jobs website posts a variety of work opportunities daily. A large number of the positions are for custodial work in the different campus buildings.

The pay isn’t bad either. The earlier the work, the more money students can earn. Student custodial workers sometimes receive more money per hour than they would at other nearby jobs like the BYU Bookstore or the MTC, accordning to BYU Human Resources.

Kristen Carter, a 19-year-old from Provo, has worked in the HFAC for one year. Carter works alongside her older sister, Abby, and enjoys not only the pay but also the people who pay her.

“We are paid more than the bookstore, and we have the best boss ever,” Carter said.

Abby Carter, a senior from Provo studying early childhood studies, has spent her entire four years at BYU working custodial jobs. She learned from those she worked with the life skills needed to be successful.

“I’ve learned how to be an efficient worker. I started out being a slow worker, but I no longer have to ask for help. I learned how to get things done fast and have a good attitude about it,” she said.

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