Staffers work hard to keep campus clean all season long
The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and football season is here. For MSU, this means thousands of tailgaters flock to campus on game days for cornhole and grilling out.
For the staff of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities’ Landscape Services and Recycling teams, this means campus cleanup before, during and after a home football game.
“We send someone out the day before to set up recycling and trash containers around the main reserved IPF tailgating areas and hospitality tents,” said Dave Smith, recycling coordinator. “We try to make recycling convenient by pairing our recycling and trash containers together.”
MSU Recycling is responsible for servicing more than 350 single-stream recycling and landfill containers across campus as well as in and around the stadium.
For Landscape Services, its team maintains nearly 500 green trash barrels distributed across MSU’s 5,200-acre campus. To facilitate easy cleanup following a game, a team of eight staff volunteers distribute logoed trash bags to tailgaters across campus the morning of kickoff.
“Veteran tailgaters know to look for our golf carts,” said Landscape Services Coordinator Fred Kester. “They flag us down to ask for these bags, and we’ve heard that some bring them to away games.”
Paul Harper, Landscape Services Operations Supervisor, is a veteran of the game day cleanup crew. “I’ve had the privilege of being part of game day cleanup for 15 years, and it really is the best job,” Harper said. “The campus atmosphere changes on game day. Hearing the roar of the crowd, the marching band play and interacting with tailgaters - there’s nothing like it.”
The day following a home game, Landscape Services and Recycling send their cleanup teams to finish the job. The crew can include upward of 80 people depending on the game. Cleanup starts in the morning and ends when the job is done, which for big games such as against the University of Michigan can mean working well into the afternoon.
“Passing out bags the day before has really made a difference in our Sunday clean-up efforts,” Harper added. “It’s helped bring awareness to the role we all play in keeping campus beautiful.”