UNL maintenance staffers work to provide sanitizing solutions for campus community
“There’s huge satisfaction in looking at everything we’ve done over the past six months knowing that we started with nothing."
If you’ve been on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently, you’re probably used to seeing hand sanitizer stations just like these.
What you may not know is the time and effort UNL Facilities Maintenance staff members have put into building and distributing these sanitizing stations ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“It’s a lot of work,” says Gabe Hampton, the assistant director of UNL’s Building Systems Maintenance. “It’s a lot of staff, a lot of collaboration. A lot of effort went into these past four months into getting the campus ready.”
When the pandemic hit, UNL Facilities Maintenance hurried to stockpile 25,000 gallons of hand sanitizer. In the months since, they managed to build and distribute more than 600 hand sanitizer stations across campus. Additionally, they have constructed health and wellness station in every one of UNL’s classrooms.
Hampton says the process of properly equipping every corner of campus with sanitizing stations has been an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. Time that would normally be spent filling work orders for campus buildings had to be spent making that there were enough resources to welcome back students and professors to campus safely.
“This is not our normal job,” Hampton said. “This is a secondary item once the whole COVID pandemic hit. To get students and staff back for fall semester, we needed personal protective equipment, we needed hand sanitizer and we needed disinfectant. So we just kind of figured out how we could do that.”
Every day, UNL maintenance staffers travel to six different zones across campus to make sure that every station is fully stocked with sanitizer. They also have a system in place where UNL faculty members can place orders for sanitizing equipment.
The past six months have not been easy, but maintenance staffers say that they are incredibly proud of what they have accomplished.
“There’s huge satisfaction in looking at everything we’ve done over the past six months knowing that we started with nothing and have made a huge difference in being able to get kids back to school,” says Andrew Mook, the manager of UNL’s Building Systems Maintenance.
Mook was hired to his current position three weeks before the pandemic hit. He says he’s just now getting a chance to do the work he was hired to do.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotion,” Hampton said. “I would say in the beginning it was overwhelming. We didn’t know what we were up against.”
Mook says he is reminded of the hard work he and his team have done to almost every morning before he goes to work.
“Several times a week, I mop my brow and say what a good thing that we’re still here, and look at what we’ve done,” Mook said.