Like many people on Carolina’s campus, David Brannigan walks across the quad with a backpack. But instead of books and binders, Brannigan’s backpack holds a small engine designed to blow leaves from walkways and green spaces in a hurry.
Brannigan – and dozens of grounds technicians like him – are hard at work keeping Carolina’s campus beautiful long before the first faculty members and students make their way to class.
“We think that everything about the campus sends a message about the University,” Brannigan said. “So if the campus looks clean and tidy and well-cared for, that suggests to parents dropping off their freshmen that they’re going to be in good hands.”
Brannigan and his team of about five people start their day about 6 a.m. and focus their mowing, weed whacking, pruning and blowing efforts – along with many other tasks – on the area surrounding Polk Place. Their goal is to be done maintaining high-traffic areas before students and faculty need to walk through them.
Several other teams like them work in other areas of campus doing similar work. Between preparing campus for new students in the summer, cleaning up leaves in the fall, shoveling snow in the winter and beautifying the grounds for graduation, the work never lets up.
“One of the things I enjoy most about the work here is the campus,” Brannigan said, “and being part of something that’s very historical. We’re taking part – an active part – in the legacy by maintaining that for future generations.”