Collecting trash, keeping Murray State’s campus clean

Story by Sabra Jackson, Staff writer

In the morning hours between 6 a.m. and 7a.m, building service technicians collect trash and clean buildings before students, faculty and staff arrive on campus, to ensure the upkeep of the university’s appearance. 

Student perspectives

Britney Tilford, sophomore from Paducah, Kentucky, said she has seen a decrease in trash on campus right now, but foresees there being an increase because of more people coming to campus.

“People start to lose the motivation to keep things clean on campus,” Tilford said. “I think it says that they start to not care because they are too absorbed in their own school problems and all that kind of stuff.”

Casey Bell, freshman from Trenton, Illinois, said she did not remember trash when she came for her campus visit but has seen some on campus since her arrival for this semester.

“I don’t think that we are slobs. I think for the most part it’s pretty clean,” Bell said.

She said when students do not pick up after themselves, it is disrespectful to the campus and to those who work hard to maintain it.

A look into a building service technicians’ day

Each day, Murray State’s solid waste trucks make its round on campus. The focus locations are the residence halls, Curris Center and Winslow Dining Hall as they have the most student traffic. Building service technicians go through each building every day to clean and remove solid waste while ensuring the university maintains health and safety regulations.

David Burdette, interim chief facilities officer, said Murray State does their own trash and recyclables collections. While the solid waste goes to Calloway County Transfer Station, the recyclables go to Murray State’s recycling center located at the North Farm.

Rick Grogan, associate director of grounds and custodial services, said the building services technicians work in two shifts. He said 25 building service technicians are on the day shift and 50 are on the night shift. As far as trash and recycling pickup go,12 do the routine daily.

Grogan said trash is collected every morning throughout the week but not on the weekends due to staff shortages.  


What can students do to help?

There are many ways students and staff can help keep up with the waste on campus.

Grogan and Burdette both said one of the biggest problems is students missing the trash can and leaving the waste outside of the basket. Grogan suggests “hitting the target.”

Grogan requests students either not eat and drink in the classrooms, or be sure to pick up their trash.

He said it takes more time for the staff to pick up those things, and if the students would help, it would cut down on facilities management’s workload.  

“If everybody would do a little, nobody has to do a lot,” Burdette said.

New improvements for trash receptacles

Grogan said 110 trash cans on campus are serviced every day, with more added when there are special events.

“We are using recycled material and we have an aggressive program for benches,” Burdette said. “We are going to put in some solar powered picnic tables and trash cans.” Grogan said there is chance of adding more trash receptacles on campus, but it takes time to service each one.

“We got to be kind of strategic in our planning and how many we put out,” Grogan said.

Grogan said the staff makes it a priority to maintain the campus’ waste and to keep it clean for visitors and students. He said if students see that the campus is not full of trash, they will pick up on that and do their part.