MSU facilities team keeps campus afloat during storm

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As heavy snow hits the Lansing area, staff and students at Michigan State are working through the storm. 

On the third day of in-person classes, some classes were moved back to virtual for the day, while others remained in-person. Student Kaitlyn Sterk had none of her classes canceled, and that during her commute she almost fell four times. Struggling to walk on the slippery sidewalks on her way to get coffee with friends, student Nora Smith described the sidewalks as “horrible,” saying she had fallen on the sidewalk multiple times. 

As the snow accumulates, MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities worked to prepare for the snow. 

Facilities employee for campus apartments Jeff Trommater said that usually during snowstorms they plan to plow every few hours. What was not usual for a regular snow was that they fitted their trucks with plows the night before in preparation. Despite the roads– Trommater said himself that his 30-mile commute was rough– everyone showed up to work. He said he did not have any concerns about facilities staff working through the storm. 

MSU Union facilities employee Tyler Counelis shoveled the front steps of the building as snow continued to fall in the morning. Also a student, he made the commute this morning from his home in Lansing, arriving late. However, he said that at the Union at least, people are very forgiving when snowstorms cause late arrivals. He said they know that sometimes it is just not possible to make it. 

Shoveling the sidewalks outside of Emmons Hall, facilities employee Sharon Delaney said she had been shoveling most of the day since arriving at 6:30 a.m She said that since she lives in Lansing, she did not have much concern about getting to work. However, she was concerned in general about the slippery roads. She was also worried about having enough people there to work during the storm.

She usually covers Emmons Hall, and works at neighboring Bailey Hall, because of a shortage of staff. While bonuses such as being allowed to work overtime or come in on their day off have been available during storms, they are even more important during this staffing shortage. Only one person took up the offer to come in on their day off for bonus pay, said Delaney. Many employees have Wednesdays off, as the facilities staff alternates days off. Employees who were scheduled to work on Wednesday were offered three hours of overtime. 

Delaney has been working with facilities for 16 years, six of them at Emmons Hall. 

She said she is happy to help the students living in Bailey and Emmons. “my students are awesome. I’m very lucky to have this group,” she said. 

Infrastructure and Facilities continues to work on the sidewalks and roads, making the routes frequented by students accessible during the storm. Despite an ongoing staffing shortage, there is still work being done to make the campus safe. 

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