Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Student workers keeping campus sanitized and safe

Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Computer science major Aruna Kamma disinfects the entryway to the Registrar’s office in Academic Hall.
Photo by Nicolette Baker

For Latasha Monday, “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Ozbourne is the soundtrack of her work day. While sanitizing high-touch areas on campus, she samples high-energy tunes from the ‘50s to the ‘90s, listening to her favorite music during her shift.

Every door knob, every light switch, every tabletop, every chair, every surface in the bathrooms must be sanitized on a regular basis to protect against the spread of COVID-19. As part of the Protect the Nest campus plan, facilities management student workers sanitize these high-touch areas in buildings on campus daily.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, the employees are ensuring common areas are sanitized so campus can stay open safely.

When heading to her early morning shift, computer science major Aruna Kamma queues up songs from Apple Music to keep herself motivated. She said she finds Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber “refreshing” in her AirPods at 7:30 a.m. — songs with fast tempos and energizing beats help wake her up. An international student from the southern part of India, she said she’ll also listen to classical or pop Indian tunes.

Student workers clean for three-hour shifts, Monday said, covering several buildings in a section of campus. Monday usually covers Kent, Pacific, Memorial and Polytech, while Kamma reaches Serena, Crisp and Brandt.

“We work individually, but we are a team,” Monday said.

In addition to full-time staff, Southeast hired several additional workers for sanitizing high-touch areas, Facilities Management director Angela Meyer stated. There are three sanitizing routes during the day and one at night.

Does the process get monotonous? Monday said she doesn’t think so. She said she genuinely enjoys the cleaning process — she’s allowed to move at her own pace and can ensure every surface is thoroughly sanitized.

“Honestly, I like the solitude,” she said.

Kamma said she enjoys the routine; the 7:30 a.m. shifts force her to start her day early, which helps her productivity the rest of the day. After clocking out, she heads home to eat a meal and work on online classes, using most of the day for homework. She’ll spend time in the evening with friends, either watching television or visiting the student recreation center.

Ultimately, Monday said she receives the most joy from knowing she’s helping to keep the campus safe. As an immunocompromised student, she said it’s important to keep safety as a priority.

“We’re all in this together — so everyone, wear your mask, wash your hands and clean your areas before and after you use them,” she said.

The CDC recommends employees use a disinfecting solution from the EPA’s approved list of COVID-effective products or bleach to sanitize common areas regularly. For more information, visit