Did you know there is an elite society on campus?
This group may be small and exclusive but their impact is unimaginable. These men and women go to work when the rest of the Bradley community goes on break. Working tirelessly, they move about campus, changing its face as we know it. Who is this legion of exclusivity, you may ask? The few. The proud. The Bradley University Student Work Crew.
‘Work Crew,’ as those on the inside call it, is a group of up to six students who serve each winter and summer break for campus Executive Director of Residential Living and Leadership Nathan Thomas. Thomas and his motley crew of students march into abandoned residence halls at the end of each semester to tackle cleaning, scrubbing and, sometimes, painting to prepare the rooms and common areas. Thomas described the job as not being very glamorous, but he insisted they always are happily willing to do what he asks.
The crew’s true origins are unknown, at least to Thomas, who said they have been around for a very long time. It has been rumored that work crew’s true origins date back to Lydia’s times.
These campus servants truly do play a crucial role. When you need an extra long mattress for your loft, as opposed to the traditional long mattress, they’ll be there. When a roommate foolishly chooses to hang a poster on your wall with glue and then proceeds to rip off a cubic foot of paint, they’ll be there. And wherever asbestos resides and mold runs rampant, you can find them doing what they do best.
Senior advertising major Lex Boll, who has served for multiple summers on the sanitation squad, referred to the gang as Bradley’s own team of house elves. Boll said, “We are unseen. What we do is noticeable, but we aren’t seen as the ones who do it.”
When asked if at the end of their tenure Thomas would give them a piece of clothing as a parting gift, Boll said, “Well no, but one time we did open a closet in Geisert and found a tuxedo jacket, pants and vest left behind on a hanger. And, well, we took it.” The rituals and habits of this crew may never be truly understood.
What is understood, though, is that Thomas feels the work crew is an exceptionally critical component of Bradley’s maintenance staff. As hyperbolic as this piece is, the crew truly does make a difference on our campus. They help the university to grow and change, and do so in an expedient manner.
The work crew serves without being known year after year and are some of the most unsung heroes of Bradley’s campus.
For all of us who have ever lived in a residence hall, especially those who have requested an extra-long mattress, we owe each of them a small debt of gratitude. But, rest assured, the next time you request an extra-long mattress and don’t end up getting one, you are free to ask…Bradley, WTF?