Interior Finishes Generalist
I work as a painter, but we do a lot more than painting. And one of the big things we do for Commencement is we move a lot of chairs. There will be about 4,700 chairs on the main quad, and another 3,000 in the indoor rain location. We place the carpet on the stage, set up the chairs on the stage and put the carpet on both ramps. The layout changes every year, but that makes our job very fun and interesting, because everybody’s pitching in. The fun part of all this is that we are able to work with everybody on campus. We also put up the flags [representing the home countries of the graduates].
Right now I am scraping, sanding and priming lampposts, and then we’ll be doing a beautiful, glossy black finish, so they look nice for Commencement. The handrails on campus are also part of this project. And it’s my job to check the podiums, to make sure there are no scratches, that the finish is completely done. One year, the podium broke the night before the ceremony. I got a phone call from Heidi [Kellogg, supervisor of event support services] around 10 or 11 at night. Heidi is still working at that time. I said, “Heidi, don't worry; I’ll be in at 4 in the morning.” And I came in at 4 in the morning, put together the podium, sanded it down, re-stained it. That day there was a bit of stress, but for the most part, it’s fun. It’s a lot of happiness.
I started here as a custodian, and as a custodian, you become a bit closer to some students you see on a regular basis. On graduation, out of the blue, they come and give you a hug. Those moments are priceless. You feel like all the work you’ve done, all those little bits of stress to deliver that event, that they were worth it. That is the best part for me.