Keeping Things Clean

In May of this year, Donna Marszalkowski will celebrate her 15 years of service to Colby-Sawyer College. She says, “It’s been phenomenal. I’ve had so much fun. My students are my top priority, and my job is my top priority.”

Donna’s role as a day-shift housekeeper has her busy every day. She is responsible for all of the housekeeping duties in the Baird Health & Counseling Center, as well as Shepard and Austin residence halls. She explains that no two days are alike, and there is no mess that is too big for her. Donna says, “There is nothing that bothers me. I can handle anything.”

Donna’s day begins at 3:30 a.m. when her alarm goes off. She is out the door by 4:45 a.m. and her commute is almost an hour. She says she does not mind the commute because she has a good car to get her here – a 2016 Subaru Impreza. Once she arrives on campus, she starts her shift at Baird Health & Counseling Center. She begins with pulling all of the trash, then cleans all of the bathrooms, disinfects all of the doorknobs and vacuums the building. If needed, she mops the floor, especially in the winter when floors get covered in salt. She then locks up the building and leaves a side light on for the incoming staff.

Once she has finished with Baird, Donna heads to Shepard and pulls the trash, cleans the bathrooms, washes the windows and walls, and vacuums. She then heads over to Austin and follows the same regiment. When she is done, she spends the rest of her shift traveling back and forth between the two residence halls to make sure everything stays pristine. She says, “My routine is taking care of my students. They are the most important people here. They are our future.”

When her shift is over at 2:30 p.m., she heads home, starts dinner and cleans her own house. Then she gets the coffee pot ready for the morning and heads to bed so she can be up early again the next day.

During the summer, Donna’s routine is a bit different. She is responsible for keeping things clean for the Gordon Research Center participants and summer camp goers. She says she loves cleaning and setting up the rooms for the guests. Donna goes in to strip the beds, empties the trash, changes the bathmats and washes the showers. She makes sure that she makes the beds and folds the face cloths a certain way before laying them on the bed.

When asked what her favorite thing about Colby-Sawyer is, Donna replied, “Everything. Its family oriented. It’s a homey atmosphere.”

And the students of CSC really seem to love her as well. As she walks around campus, it is not uncommon for her to hear her name called out among her many fans. Because she has made so many friends with students for so many years, she is unable to recall many of their names, but affectionately refers to them as “Pumpkin,” “Sweetheart,” or “Buddy.”

Alumnus Brian Gallagher ’17 says, “Donna is awesome. No matter what day it is, she is always so happy and very witty, quick to crack a joke, no matter how early or late in the day it is.”

Donna lives with her husband of 25 years, Thomas, in Goshen, N.H. She loves sharing photos of her two cats, Cheyanne and Gizmo, coloring in adult coloring books and is an avid hunter. She says, “I also love to clean in my spare time. That’s just me.”

by Donna S. Long