For grounds workers, Quad cleanup is no easy feat

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For grounds workers, Quad cleanup is no easy feat

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

Ceara Burden | @cearaburden, Contributing Writer

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For many students, the Sunday after game day calls for a hefty detox. But while students might spend a day recharging before Monday classes begin, groundskeepers are working to make sure the Quad recovers, too. 

On Alabama game days, long after the football game is done and the fans have left Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Quad remains filled with activity. 

Instead of spending the night celebrating the Crimson Tide, teams of workers will spend up to 12 hours cleaning up pans, cutlery, napkins, cans and bottles. All of this is done to help restore the Quad to its pristine condition, a feat that is not always easy. For larger games like LSU, the grounds department may recruit up to 80 people to help clean up the remaining trash. 

However, late-night cleanup is only one part of the grounds department’s restoration process. Quad cleanup begins long before the game starts early on Friday mornings when tailgate companies and the grounds department will begin to set up tents and tailgate essentials.

“We put out approximately 200 trash cans across the Quad, as well as burn barrels for barbecue, tents, tables, chairs, coolers and big rollout bins for trash,” said Brian Anderson, director of the UA Grounds Department. 

It isn’t hard for trash to pile up on game days, either. Tailgate Guys, a company under contract with the University that specializes in tailgating, routinely collects multiple bags of trash from tents. 

“We collect anywhere from half a bag to three or four bags of trash in tents,” said Ed White, general manager of Tailgate Guys. 

According to UA open data, the company joined the University in April of 2017. In 2018 the University spent about $120,000 on meetings, rentals and other company expenses – a number that may be going up. From January to September of this year, the University has spent about $20,000 more on the contracted company than they did over the same time span last year. 

Companies specializing in tailgating implement their own procedures to ensure a clean tent space during the game. White, a UA alumnus, implements strict policies regarding how his customers are to leave their tent space. 

“It is the responsibility of guests to clean up,” White said. 

White thoroughly believes in this sentiment, as he fines customers who leave the tent space dirty. Upon a customer’s third infraction, the Tailgate Guys will ban the customer from using their services in the future. 

While many of the reserved tents may be easily kept clean, an issue lies in unreserved tailgating areas. According to White, companies like his are not in charge of maintaining the unreserved tailgate areas. Thus, many recyclable items such as plastic cups and cans may remain on the ground long after the game is over. 

Student groups on campus are trying to combat this issue. In regards to recycling, the UA Environmental Council tries to expand recycling efforts not just in everyday life, but also on game days. 

“We volunteer with UA Recycling to place recycling bins on the Quad and encourage people who are tailgating to recycle,” said Julia Alaimo, President of UA’s Environmental Council.

While it may seem that with larger tailgates the Quad may get messier each game, Anderson finds that tailgaters have actually left the Quad cleaner now than in years past. 

“I have been here for eight years, and I am amazed at how much better tailgaters are at throwing away trash,” Anderson said.

Still, Anderson has some tips for tailgaters.

“The biggest thing is that all people tailgating use the trash cans so we can clean up a lot quicker and keep the Quad looking nice,” Anderson said. 

For more information on UA game days and tailgating, visit UA’s website at uagameday.com/tailgating.