Lakeland custodial staff meets students’ needs


Lindsey Vagnini

Custodial Lead Sue Ann Kohlmann says the custodians take pride in maintaining their buildings.

Lindsey Vagnini, Ad Manager

Some of the Lakeland College cleaning staff spend hours scrubbing toilets and sanitizing living spaces–often doing more than what is underlined in their job description.

Sitting down with LuAnn Lawonn of the housekeeping staff, Christine Gumm of the Old Main housekeeping staff and Brotz Custodial Lead Sue Ann Kohlmann  can give one insight into their gratitude, challenges and how they contribute to the Lakeland community.

Firstly, the housekeeping staff are helping students overcome their intense feelings of homesickness.

Intriguingly, these three ladies describe a time when they found a Lakeland freshman crying outside her dorm from homesickness. Counseling this girl, the ladies provided encouragement to this young freshman who would later not only become a Lakeland College graduate, but continue to graduate level education.

The cleaning staff employees also express their thankfulness for the two weeks of starting vacation time they receive. Lawonn compares this benefit to other employers.

“I mean, a lot of times you go to a factory and you have to work a full year before you get any kind of vacation,” Lawonn said.

Free tuition for their children’s attendance at Lakeland College for them served as an additional benefit.

These three ladies also take responsibility for items left behind by previous Lakeland College students in buildings like Brotz Hall.

For instance, if they find items like towels and blankets that are in good condition, they often will donate them to the humane society.

Some of the items are also given to help those who are experiencing an emergency.

For example, Kohlmann recalls when they recently gave unclaimed towels to the Malawian students who had lost theirs in the Hill House fire.

“We picked through and we gave them a bunch of stuff,” Kohlmann said.

Kohlman shared one incident where she walked into Brotz’s hallway to find a broken salsa jar that had been abandoned overnight.

“The kitchens get really left behind in here; you wouldn’t believe it,” Kohlmann said. “Students leave and forget about collecting everything out of the kitchens, including nice spices, pots and pans, and food that haven’t even been opened.”

When asked what inspires the cleaning staff to continue going the extra mile for students on campus, the ladies expressed feelings of gratitude for their positions and a sense of school spirit.

Kohlmann said, “These are our buildings, and we take pride in our buildings.”