Apr 25, 2019
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Ryan Young is a custodian at Fresno State who works the swing shift, from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. (Paige Gibbs/The Collegian)

A Fresno State swing shift custodian

Ryan Young has been on the swing shift custodial crew for about a year and eight months. Prior to joining Fresno State, he was a carpet cleaner for 18 years.

The new night schedule was a big change for him.

“It’s been an adjustment,” Young said. “I’ve always worked 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s been an adjustment for my wife and I.”

Young lives in Selma with his wife Tina. He’s a family man at heart, and with his two children grown, Young wanted a job would allow him to make the most of his time with them.

His daughter Jazzmine graduated from Washington State with a communications degree and a minor in sports management. She recently moved back to Fresno and is the partnership services coordinator for the Grizzlies. His son currently attends Reedley College.

Young joined Fresno State for the schedule, benefits and vacation time. Although he and his wife work opposite schedules, they both get weekends and the same holidays off.

“On weekends, we spend our time together,” Young said. “We go out to eat or we go see a movie. Or we just go for a drive. We’ll drive up to the mountains or out to the coast, just to get away.”

What is Young doing on campus from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday through Friday? The area of campus he is responsible for is McLane Hall, the H-wing.

“You go to your area and get all the trash,” Young said. “You want to make sure everything looks nice and clean for the kids to come in the next day; professors as well. You want to make sure their desks look nice and their office is cleaned and vacuumed.”

Young works mostly alone. For his job, it is important to be self-sufficient and be able to do the job well, he said. However, the custodians do sometimes work as a team if the area is large or someone falls behind for some reason.

“As long as you call it in, you can get help,” Young said. There are about 15 swing shift custodians and half of them are relatively new to the team.

Young said the crew gets along really well.

“We have our little sports fights, but that’s normal,” Young joked.  

What surprised him the most about his job is how often people tend to leave important items in classrooms and bathrooms — rings, purses and even wallets. Young turns in what he finds and hopes the owners are reunited with their lost possessions.

Because it’s the night shift, Young laughed about how there are sometimes interesting people who wander onto campus.

His most exciting night on a shift was when a shooting occurred last semester at University Inn. Young said all the custodians were asked to go back to the warehouse and remain there until they were cleared to continue their work.

The only part of his job that bothers him is when students miss a trash can and don’t bother to pick up their litter.

“People sometimes forget their manners,” Young said. “And they write on tables. Don’t [they] have paper? Maybe they’re trying to save a tree,” Young added with a wry smile.

All jokes aside, Young is passionate about doing the most with the responsibility he has been given.

The campus has many buildings. Young says in over a year and a half he only knows about six buildings. However, he’s been trying to study a map of the school so he can better assist people who ask him for directions.

Young said the most challenging part of his job is learning a new area that he hasn’t been trained in. Yet, plant operations manager Madeline Lopez had many kind things to say about Young’s work ethic.

“Ryan is such a positive energy,” Lopez said. “He comes in with this huge smile on his face. That’s Ryan. If he sees something that needs to be done, he does it. He’s got a lot of pride in his work. He’s a very good employee.”

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