Cleaning up campus and caring for the students

Alicia Dye | News Editor | One of the whiteboards on Sieg’s closet. Students write small notes, including some that say “We heart you Melanie” and “Let’s hear it for Melanie."

Alicia Dye | News Editor

Oct. 20, 2022

The day starts earlier than most for the Duquesne housekeepers. They wake up as early as 3 a.m. to start their workday at 5, while most of campus is still asleep. They work together to make the dorms and college buildings as clean as they can, and love the work they do.

The housekeepers start their day by collecting all the garbage from the floors they are responsible for. There are at least four garbage cans in each wing, totaling at least 12 that they have to collect.

The housekeepers make multiple trips down to empty the cans and replace the bags in them.

After the garbage, which can take hours between using the elevator and making sure they can fit in the elevator without disturbing students who are trying to get to class, the housekeepers clean every common space.

Melanie Sieg is a housekeeper in Duquesne Towers and has been for a couple years. She never has anything negative to say about the residents.

“A lot of people talk badly about the football floor and how dirty it is, but when I was cleaning it, the boys were so nice,” Sieg said. “They always were so kind to me. They apologized for the mess often, and I really got to know them.”

Sieg now is in charge of floors 10 and 11 in Duquesne Towers, a shift from the football floor, but she still loves interacting with the students and the students love talking to Sieg.

“Melanie is such a friendly and kind individual. She always says hello to whoever walks past and always wears a smile,” floor 10 resident Jordan Baney said. “Melanie is not only warmhearted, but she is also one of the hardest workers you will ever meet. Every time I see her, she is busy at work making sure that our living environment is as clean and tidy as possible. Melanie does so much for us and for that I thank her.”

“I love her, honestly. I thank her for being patient with us, as we’re not the most favorable to work with but she makes it seem easy,” said Bella Deborah Uwase, another floor 10 resident. “I thank her so much for everything she does, and we do appreciate and notice it. I don’t know what the wing would be without her services.”

Sieg makes sure that she interacts with the students when she sees them and tries to interact even when she doesn’t.

“I love writing notes on the whiteboards across the floor. Just little things like ‘have a nice week’, and the girls always write back with a bunch of notes,” Sieg said. “I love seeing what they say and it forms a little bond without us even talking.”

“I have a little white board outside my door, and Mel always writes cute notes on it,” said floor 10 Resident Assistant Maria Sholtes. “Even though I don’t see her much, her kindness doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.”

Sieg works with other housekeepers who are also up in the early morning to make common spaces as clean as possible for residents. Donna Schwarz is in charge of floor six and seven in Duquesne Towers and is beloved by many who live on the floors.

“I’ve had Donna as my housekeeper for two years now, and she has been the best,” said floor seven Resident Assistant Grace Scanlon. “She always asks if I need anything when I see her, and my residents never have any problems. She really makes sure everything is done correctly and I love her for it.”

“This is my first year at Duquesne, and Donna has been so kind,” said freshman Jenna Stewart. “She has always made sure we have everything we need and that our bathrooms are clean. I couldn’t be more thankful for everything she does.”

Bruce Tucker is responsible for the fourth and fifth floors in Duquesne Towers. Tucker has been at Duquesne for a few years, and the students love him.

“He always informs me about something going on and keeps me updated,” Max Ujhazy said. “He makes sure that everything is sanitized and that everyone has a clean space to share. He really works hard to make everything work.”

The work day doesn’t end until almost 3 p.m. for housekeepers. They work on bathrooms and other common spaces all day, making sure everything is clean. They still follow their Covid-19 cleaning protocol, so they take the extra time to protect students from getting sick.

They even vacuum and mop the spaces, no matter how clean they appear. They even clean the kitchenettes located on each wing, even if the students don’t use them much.

“They clean every space, even ones that I never see people in,” Sholtes said. “It just really shows how much they care about what they do. Although not everybody appreciates what they do, it never goes unnoticed by me and other residents.”

“I’ve lived in Towers since my sophomore year and I’m now a senior. The housekeepers have always been so kind and welcoming,” senior Rebecca Fisher said. “I always try to get them a little gift during the holidays. I think students often overlook them, but they are truly some of the nicest people on campus and really care about us.

“They always check in on me and always ask me if I need anything from them. Even the weekend housekeepers do so much for us. It doesn’t go unnoticed by me, and I think other students should thank them more often.”

The students love what the housekeepers do, even if they don’t always show it. Sieg never leaves without a smile on her face, and always has one the next day as well, no matter how much work she has to do. Whether it is working more during Homecoming weekend or just having to do a deep clean, she enjoys what she does.

“The students make everything worth it. I get to meet new people every year and get to know them,” Sieg said. “No mess can mess up how much I love what I do.”