If you have lived in Slocum, the Colorado College Inn, Synergy 1, Synergy 2, Kappa Sigma, FIJI, or the Lennox (Glass) House, chances are you’ve seen Jeff Verhey, the man in charge of maintenance in the southeast quadrant of campus. Verhey has worked here full time since December of 2002.

Interestingly, this is the first maintenance job he has held. His last job was as a short order cook. “I just knew that I was tired of being a cook all the time and that needed to change,” says Verhey. “[An] opportunity popped up and it worked out […] moving here just seemed like a good idea just because of the flexibility and the stability, because I was getting ready to start a family.”

Verhey thinks he was able to get CC to hire him for a maintenance position without any experience in the field by “just having a good personality and being willing to learn new things, and having a good team that will teach you all of the stuff.”

“It doesn’t take long to figure it all out,” says Verhey. “You deal with the same stuff all the time. It’s just having a good mind for troubleshooting. Honestly, if I can’t figure out a problem, I’ll go find something that’s not broken and see how it works and find out why this thing isn’t working.”

After working in the southeast quadrant for 13 years, Verhey has found that each building “has its own nuances that make it unique.” He has found that the CC Inn can pose a bit of a problem, probably because it’s “one of the last places people pick, and then you end up with a whole bunch of people that didn’t really want to be there in the first place.” The Lennox (Glass) House serves as the poster child. “It’s always beautiful,” he says. “The people there just try to take care of the house.”

Unsurprisingly, “Mathias has always had a reputation for being a party house; Jackson, likewise.” However, there’s probably a reason for that. “Mathias, eight years ago, was sophomores, juniors, and seniors only. They didn’t put freshmen in there and I think it was for good reason. Because now any freshman that goes in there gets a completely different experience than the freshmen in the other two big buildings.”

Verhey has observed some cycles that someone in a different position might not notice. One is the movement of RLCs, who are vital to Verhey’s work. “I rely on the RLC to help hold the RAs accountable for what they’re supposed to be doing.” But at CC, they don’t tend to last long.

“Three years generally is about as long as they want an RLC to be around,” Verhey notes. “They want for there to be a constant flow at that position […] I’ve almost seen as many RLCs in this building as I have classes go through. Unfortunately, I feel like RLCs could be more effective if it was more of a long-term position.”

Zak Kroger, current RLC of Slocum and former Loomis RLC, appears to be an anomaly, having held the position for five years. RAs, who serve on the front lines, also perform important roles. “If the RAs aren’t doing their job as good as they can it’s gonna make everybody else’s life harder because we’re gonna have more paperwork to fill out, we’re gonna have more stuff in the hallway that we’re gonna have to confiscate, stuff like that.”

For Verhey, the most enjoyable aspect of working in maintenance is “getting to know the students on a first name basis and just being able to run across somebody cruising across campus and stop and have a conversation, instead of people who are just standoffish or feel like they shouldn’t even communicate with somebody in my class or level or whatever.” And it’s a win-win situation, because it makes his job easier. Verhey says that forging these relationships “builds a respect where stuff doesn’t get broken as much.”

Miraculously, students don’t get on Verhey’s nerves. “You have to understand that it’s a learning environment,” Verhey explains. “Most of you haven’t been out of the shelter of your own homes, you haven’t had to worry about fixing your own stuff, so when I get the opportunity I try to explain things that students could do differently to prevent things from happening.”

We might be here to learn academics, but we should also learn how to live on our own without destroying the few things left in our care. This, Verhey is more than happy to teach. He recognizes that students are sometimes overcome by an innate desire to destroy everything in sight.

“Some students just feel the urge to break something or they do it on accident trying to show how fragile something is,” Verhey says. “I’ve had students bet $10 that they couldn’t punch a hole in a wall and then it ends up costing them a lot more than $10 to fix the hole in the wall. I don’t know; it’s a learning experience. That’s the way I see it.”

Verhey cares for the welfare of CC students. His advice for us? “Be more aware […] everybody today is so wrapped up in technology that they can’t hear a cart driving behind them because they have their headphones in. They’re staring down at their phones when they’re in the middle of the street half the time. They need to just stop and pay attention to what’s going around them or life is gonna pass them by.”

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