Over 200 students apply for UConn-sponsored snow shoveling jobs

UConn students are seen shoveling snow on the UConn campus. There were over 200 student applications for snow shoveling work this semester, according to Facilities Operations and Building Services. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Winter usually means snow and at the University of Connecticut it often requires students to join the shoveling episode.

Snow removal at UConn is a huge event, facilities manager at Facilities Operations and Building Services Aris Ristau said. Maintainers, housekeepers, landscapers, managers and contractors all help around campus when dealing with snow removal, he said.

“We have been hiring students for maintenance and housekeeping in our department for many years,” Ristau said, “but last year was the first year we created a job specifically for shoveling.”

This year there were over 200 student applications, Ristau said. The number of applicants that are hired depends on the season, and students can also be hired during the season if others do not show up or drop out, he said.

UConn is not the only university that hires students to clear snow. UConn rival Syracuse University also hires student shovelers, according to the university’s webpage.

“Hiring and even re-hiring is done on a first-come first-serve basis with some priority given to our existing maintenance and housekeeping student workers,” Ristau said. 

The student shovelers get paid $16 an hour, and when they begin work depends on how long the snowstorm is, he said.

This last storm was forecasted to leave UConn with six inches of snow and was supposed to last from 8 a.m. Saturday lasting through 10 a.m. Sunday. Students and others worked to shovel the snow from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

If it were to snow on a weekday, student shovelers would begin around 4:00 a.m, so sidewalks and paths would be cleared by 7 a.m. when dining halls open, Ristau said.

Safety vests are available for shovelers, both student and non-student, Ristau said. Also, breaks and warm-up times are available and encouraged. When larger storms occur, even meals are sometimes provided.

“Students have always been a major piece of our program,” Ruistau said. “We are all part of the UConn community and we have found that adding students to our team helps to promote ownership and accountability in the spaces in which they work.”