Physical Plant Digs Out Campus on Snow Days


Chris Woods, senior, shovels snow outside the CUC Physical Plant offices on Feb. 3.

Zahra Sammour

The physical plant at Concordia University Chicago is working long hours this winter to make sure the paths are clear for students to walk and for cars to drive.

Currently, just three students work full time at the CUC physical plant. In past years, the plant had between 12 and 15 student workers.

When asked if he is hiring, physical plant director Jarin Davis replied, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

“We just need someone that is dependable, willing to work, and doesn’t mind getting dirty,” said Davis. “I understand that academics come first, or prior engagements. Therefore, we are very flexible with schedules.”

Students who work for the physical plant are required to put in at least two consecutive hours each day. The student workers are responsible for trash and recycling removal, package deliveries, event set-ups and takedowns, vehicle washing, landscaping, and snow removal in the winter. 

“Student workers generally shovel entryways, ramps, and playgrounds,” said Davis. “Full-time staff operate the plows and heavy machinery. Students can be trained on some of the machines, with my approval.”

“We get paid extra for snow shoveling so we do it,” said senior Chris Woods, a physical plant employee. “Plus there’s no one else that’s going to do it.”

During the particularly cold first week of February, it snowed through the night on Feb. 2 into the morning of Feb 3. Temperatures dropped as low as 16 degrees in the evening.

“It was freezing cold,” said senior Andrew Lechuga. “When we showed up to work, it was like we didn’t do anything the day before. It was probably more snow on the third.”

Shoveling all that snow this winter allowed students workers to earn more money, but they also worked longer hours. 

“We had worked all day getting the snow off of campus on the second, just to get back to work early in the morning to clean it up again,” said Woods. “We get a call the day before to be ready at the physical plant by 5 a.m.”

Clearing snow from the parking lots, sidewalks, and entryways takes top priority, Davis said, with emergency exits, playgrounds, and other less trafficked areas secondary. “We try to have the entire campus open by 8 a.m.,” said Davis. “It all depends on when it starts snowing, or how much.”

Although the hours are long, that doesn’t mean the student physical plant workers see their task as a chore.

“I love listening to music while I work, because it helps the time go by quickly,” said Woods. “We do a lot of hard work, and CUC wouldn’t run without the work we do.”