t’s been said that it is old people or gnomes that keep things so clean and neat around here. However, the reality is that the Northwestern maintenance staff works hard to keep our campus looking immaculate and the buildings in working order. Anyone who has seen part-time groundskeeper John Zeutenhorst busy behind the wheel of a lawn mower, a Bobcat or the Goossen-Vac from spring until winter knows the truth of this statement.
About twenty people work on the maintenance staff. They clean and make repairs in various buildings on campus, as well as maintaining the grounds. As these staff members serve the NW community day in and day out, they delight in the fellowship they encounter.
A brief chat with a few of these staff members while they were on a break revealed three things. First, they like coffee. Second, they like cookies. And third, they love to laugh. When asked about his favorite aspect of his job, Harvey VanKlompenburg, the Maintenance Assistant in charge of vehicles, joked, “I like the coffee times and the fun we have.”
The men soon revealed that they enjoyed other aspects of their jobs as well. “Every year is different,” maintenance assistant Lee Hofland explained. “[I like] the variety of things you get into.” Hofland is in charge of the RSC maintenance and has been working for NW for 22 years.
Supervisor of Mechanical Services Gary Jeltema explained why he started working for NW. “Part of it was the working environment—being around the kids was a good experience. And, as your kids get older it’s nice to see them go to college around here.”
Another benefit of the job is working in the Christian environment that is a major part of NW. “You really will know that impact of touching people’s lives working here,” explained Hofland.
The staff members mentioned a few ways that students could help make their jobs a little easier. Jeltema explained that students assist them by “always being in a good mood with a smile on [their] face.” He also added that students could help by continuing to treat the property, such as classrooms and dorm rooms, with respect. “Take care of your things the way you’d take care of your home.”
Monte Golden, housekeeper of the chapel, reiterated that NW’s students already exhibit this respect. “Overall, as far as other colleges go, students here are pretty good in comparison. Kids are clean, neat and they care about the buildings. They’re also a lot better in the dorms than they used to be.” However, he joked that Colenbrander residents were still a problem.