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The other side of summer: Q&A with paint crew student workers

July 26, 2013

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    Paint Crew 2013!
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    Paint Crew 2013
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    The Bosses: Leon Grant & Richard Austin

This Q&A is the third in a series produced by the Facilities Services department to spotlight and applaud its summer student employees.

When students arrive for classes in the fall, they might not notice some of the changes that took place during the summer months. Each summer on campus, a major project for the college is repainting the interiors of all residence halls and many of the academic buildings. Up to 20 student employees are hired to paint over the summer, with many being international students who are spending their first summer overseas. With such a large amount of work required in a short amount of time, student employees fill the void needed to complete summer repainting.

Before the summer work season begins, Richard Austin and Leon Grant, full time staff painters, develop a schedule for repainting the 23 residence halls on campus. To prepare the repainting schedule requires significant planning because the department must take into consideration all of the summer conferences and campus construction projects. Moving from one building to the next, the process to repaint the dorms takes the entire summer. The total amount of space covered by the summer paint crew is over 150,000 square feet!

While most of the paint crew students will go on to careers that do not involve painting, many of the skills learned over the summer stay with them long after they move onto life after college. For some of the students, this is their first experience working in a full time job. Students develop a professional routine, gain team building and organizational skills, and attain the ability to paint their first home!  

“We try to teach the students life skills in addition to painting skills. Without the students, the summer repainting could not be accomplished. Year after year, they make sure the campus is ready for the upcoming fall semester. Their dedication keeps this place operating,” said Richard Austin, lead painter for the college.

The following Q&A features Paint Crew student workers:
  • Nicolas Wilkins ’14, International Affairs
  • Alison Dumas ’14, Art History
What will you take from this experience to future jobs?

Alison: The ability to balance both working hard and having a good time on the job.

Nick: Developing life skills away from your parents; taking care of yourself, paying bills and having a full time job.

Favorite part of summer work for the paint crew?

Alison: Meeting new students and staff members from departments on campus, and seeing work that maintains our campus.

Nick: Understanding the overall structure of the college, working with my friends, and getting to know Portland during the summer.

Both: Paint crew brings together students from all over the world. We all learn more from being exposed to different cultures.

Both: Getting off work at 3 p.m. and the community BBQs and parties! Thanks, Janice!

Do you have advice for future Lewis & Clark students?

Alison: Get involved because it fosters a close knit community! Apply early to get the on-campus summer job you want.

Nick: If you work on campus during the school year, it makes finding on-campus summer work easier.

Both: Come hungry, leave happy!