Troy student gets hands dirty on grounds crew

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Bishal Niroula photo 

Amari Graben (left), a sophomore social work major from Alabaster, Alabama, and Eliza Thomas (right), a freshman psychology major from Cullman, Alabama, working outside of Jack Hawkins Hall.

Pratibha Gautam

Staff Writer

Tia Yarbrough, a junior criminal justice major from Eufaula, is at work landscaping the university grounds by 6:30 a.m. three days a week. Yarbrough has been working for the grounds crew for about a year.

The grounds crew under the Troy University Physical Plant is responsible for maintaining all the grounds on campus, recycling, maintaining the plants, cleaning and prepping for special events including sporting events. 

“Here, we have (people) from 18 years old to 86 years old,” said Matthew Shelly, the grounds manager.

The grounds crew currently has 10 student helpers who, according to Yarbrough, are scheduled to fit around their classes and other routines.

Every morning, some of these student helpers work for a couple of hours collecting trash from specific campus locations. Other students might be involved in clearing weeds, watering plants or similar jobs.

“We also complete various assignments throughout the day like removing bushes around AC units and cutting down tree limbs that need removing,” Yarbrough said.

 “We love the students,” Perry said, adding that student helpers are often the most reliable. “Our student employees are some of the best.”

Yarbrough says she likes her job as it provides a friendly environment and incentives for exceptional work. 

“I also get to show my friends on campus my work,” she said.

The only problem, according to Yarbrough, is the changes in temperature as she is mostly working outside.

Responsibilities of the grounds crewmen can involve more than just recycling and maintaining the plants. They also include maintaining the grounds of sports field, including the golf field, which, according to Shelly, is one of the more difficult jobs. 

 “We also do repairs on the campus grounds,” Shelly said, mentioning the recent incident when the campus fountain was soaped. The bigger repairs, however, are taken to contractors.

Right now, the crew is preparing for graduation, which is a really big event in their calendar. In the fall, the crew is busy preparing the fields for football games, including pressure washing the entire semester.

Shelly encourages students looking for work to come work for the grounds crew. 

“We can train anybody to do what they have to do,” Shelly said.

If students want to get involved, they can contact the Troy University Physical Plant.

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