By Ariel Serafin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 7, 2005
Homecoming is the messiest UA event of the year, and while students and alumni anxiously await the event, the cleanup is not something facilities management personnel look forward to.
UA Landscape Manager Rebecca Flores said the five to six tons of garbage generated during Homecoming Week is far more than is created at any other UA activity or celebration.
Cleaning up this year’s mess required the assistance of about 10 groundskeepers who worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and an additional six to eight hours yesterday tidying up the UA Mall, surrounding parking lots and any other part of campus the celebration had reached.
Flores said she does not know how much extra money is spent on cleaning up after Homecoming, but workers get paid overtime for the work.
The groundskeepers’ duties included setting up trash boxes, separating garbage from recyclables, replacing trash bags and putting garbage away, Flores said.
In order to tackle the job in an efficient and orderly way, groundskeepers are assigned sections to clean up at particular times. Once their assigned portion of campus is clean, they put the bags of trash on the side of the road where trucks come to pick them up, and they move on, groundskeeper Chris Allen said.
Allen said about 90 percent of what he cleaned up was beer cans, although “bio-waste,” or vomit, was a relatively common finding as well.
Allen said he didn’t notice a lot of what he was cleaning up because he just tried to plug his nose and tune out.
“I try not to really pay attention to what I’m picking up,” Allen said.
Groundskeeper Miguel Rodriguez said regardless of how well campus was cleaned, he was still shocked to see people exercising or playing on the messy Mall in the days after Homecoming.
“People don’t even notice what they’re laying in,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes you’ve got a big old spot of barbecue sauce or mashed potatoes.”
Groundskeepers had different views on how students handled themselves during the event.
Denis Schwanke said he thought Homecoming celebrants had been careless and disrespectful by leaving such a huge mess behind.
“If people are adults they should show us a little respect,” Schwanke said. “But the people that pay this big money aren’t going to do that, and the students don’t care.”
Schwanke said he didn’t think Homecoming was going to get any less messy in the future.
“I’ve been doing this for 13 years and it hasn’t changed,” Schwanke said.
Although the mess was large and difficult to clean up, Allen said it wasn’t as bad as it could have been considering how large the attendance was.
“For all the alcohol that was served, I was quite impressed by how people behaved,” Allen said.
Rodriguez said he had only one major complaint about spending the majority of his weekend cleaning up.
“I missed my football,” Rodriguez said.