During the past three weeks, Colgate waved farewell to the Bicentennial Class of 2019 and hosted more than 4,000 alumni, families, and friends for the Bicentennial All-Class Reunion.
Coming and going, visitors encountered a campus of distinctive beauty, thanks in part to the grounds and custodial crews who work behind the scenes.
Their efforts, significant under any circumstances, were made more challenging due to the cold, wet spring and the record number of visitors returning for reunion. Groundskeepers scrambled to complete mowing and planting in time for the celebrations.
“We fight mother nature,” said Jamie Reilly, foreperson and groundskeeper. “But our crew goes above and beyond, and they all take pride in what they do.”
What they do includes preparing 3,000 torches for the reunion torchlight parade, mowing 150 acres of lawn, and hauling away more than 5 tons of garbage per day in the week leading up to commencement. Colleagues on the custodial staff prepared more than 1,100 rooms in the residence halls for reunion, setting more than 2,000 sets of linen. They worked overtime throughout the reunion weekend, with some only ending their shifts at 2 a.m.
This year the custodial staff added two new residence halls — Burke Hall and Jane Pinchin Hall — to the University’s reunion accommodations. Every building on campus hosted programming, and vast tents ringed Whitnall Field.
“It’s amazing what the staff does when you think about all of the spaces that need to be touched for these events,” said Michelle Butzgy, custodial supervisor.