Getting to know EC custodian Francisco Roldan

Francisco Roldan, the custodian for East Campus, has been at Columbia for 8 years, and previously worked the graveyard shift at Dodge Fitness. He’s one of many who keeps our sinks sparkling and recycling bins empty. Thank you, Francisco!

Spirit animal: eagle
Studied in college: criminal justice and psychology
Favorite movies: Lord of the Rings, Matrix, and old 80’s movies
Born in: The Bronx

Describe your typical day.

I get up at 4 a.m., I’m here from 6 a.m. till 2:30 p.m., and usually I’ll pick my son up from school and we’ll spend time together. Then I’m in class from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. My time at Columbia is usually spent on my daily routine in East Campus. I tidy up the bathroom, take out recycling, report any damages with lights or ballasts. I follow the tickets I have to take care of.

One of the buildings you maintain is EC–which houses mostly seniors and therefore parties–how do you handle that?

Not one of my favorite times [laughs]! It could get hectic. But I manage; it has to get done. The grossest thing I’ve had to clean up is vomit. Last week I had to take care of a couch full of vomit. It’s timely but it’s not difficult. Mostly Wednesdays and Fridays have excess recycling and garbage. But it’s part of the job.

Have you ever had to call up reinforcement to help you carry the recycling bags?

At times, yeah. The most amount of bags I’ve ever seen was about 20-25 bags from one townhouse.

Would you have acted differently in college knowing that someone had to clean up after your social life?

Definitely. I remember seeing staff come in and clean up. Of course. It would be great for students to be more tidy and responsible but if they are, then I wouldn’t have a job!

What’s the best part about your job?

The community, students, diversity. You know, it’s nice seeing different things that you’re not accustomed to. I noticed a salsa bachata dance that was going on in the lounge. Wow! That’s something that I grew up on and to see that here at Columbia is a good thing.

Do you think you use some of your college education at Columbia?

I don’t use my criminal justice background but I do use psychology, every day. I like to know what people are thinking. I’m going to school now–taking the opportunity that my union is offering staff–for engineering at Bronx Community College. I’m taking schematics, blueprints, plumbing, electrical and I’m enrolled for HVAC for September. I hope to use that for investment here; I’m looking into a position here for environmental control. I find it fascinating how quickly energy and information travel. I love the idea of saving energy–we’re wasteful so it’s good to learn how to conserve. I think it’s something Columbia needs right now.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Hopefully owning my own business. I want to that knowledge to start a heating ventilation company that saves energy.

Tell me about some of your interests.

Anime. Going out. Lounging with friends. I have a son. We go to amusement parks and he’s in karate right now. I guess just hanging out, having fun. About my interest in anime, I like the culture, language, the spirituality aspect. An old Anime called YuYu Hakusho has that type of spiritual energy and power.

Do you have any advice for Columbia students?

Don’t drink so much [laughs]! But I did my fair share of drinking in college, so I understand. And for graduating students, know what you want. Know that what you’re getting yourself into is something that you’re passionate about. It’s all about taking care of yourself and your potential family. Know that it is the right decision–but only you know that and nobody else can really tell you. You have to experience it yourself.

Dara Marans is a senior in Columbia College studying philosophy. When she isn’t interviewing for Spectrum, you can find her exploring the many libraries on campus or talking to strangers.


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