Supplying University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics with clean, sterile linens is vital, especially during a public health crisis. Having enough healthy delivery drivers to match the potential surges related to COVID-19 is just as vital.
UI Laundry Services identified the need for more trained drivers, but where would they find a pool of drivers with Class B commercial driver's licenses (CDL) that could be deployed quickly?
The answer: Right here on the UI campus.
CAMBUS and Fleet Services management asked their employees if they would volunteer to temporarily join UI Laundry Services as delivery drivers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With five employees volunteering for reassignment, Laundry Services can proactively prepare for any surge in demand related to COVID-19. “I am so impressed that these employees were willing to pitch in,” says Brian McClatchey, CAMBUS assistant director.
Drivers are learning delivery routes and how to manage heavy carts, and they are folding laundry between routes. Their help will allow Laundry Services to continue to provide crucial, ongoing support of patient care at both campus hospitals and offsite clinics as the pandemic progresses.
“I am really grateful for the opportunity to assist another department with my unique qualifications during this time of need. Being a Hawkeye means you’re part of a family, and that family has each other’s backs.”
CAMBUS student mechanic and driver who is studying electrical engineering
“Laundry Services is so fortunate to have had the overwhelming support offered by CAMBUS, Fleet Services, and other Business Services units over the past few weeks,” says Ben Barreras, assistant director of Laundry Services, Printing Services, and Mailing Services. “I don’t think we could be any prouder or appreciative of the teamwork from Business Services staff to help ensure our preparedness in the coming weeks.”
Student transit drivers have always risen to the challenge when the UI campus needed their support—in joyous times like OnIowa! and RAGBRAI, and in the midst of historic flooding or dangerous, record-low temperatures. The student employees who volunteered for reassignment continue that tradition, strengthening the Hawkeye community.
“I didn’t realize how crucial these drivers were to the university beyond CAMBUS,” says Jason Rathjen, a CAMBUS student mechanic and driver who is studying electrical engineering. “I am really grateful for the opportunity to assist another department with my unique qualifications during this time of need. Being a Hawkeye means you’re part of a family, and that family has each other’s backs.”
“Many of us, including myself, feel anxious and unsure of how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Coltin Ball, a CAMBUS driver and majoring in psychology and public health. “Lending my assistance through this cross-departmental collaboration felt like I was positively impacting the situation.”
CAMBUS driver Paige Pearson, a double-major in English (publishing track) and communication studies, appreciates how her CAMBUS job has helped her succeed at college. “It’s very fulfilling to see the direct result of the work I do, whether that be seeing people get on and off my bus, or unloading linens from the laundry truck,” Pearson says. “I was thrilled to help assist the university and hospitals.”
“Being a part of another department on campus is a fun and eye-opening experience. I feel very welcome in both departments,” says Maddy Wilson, a CAMBUS transit operator trainer and driver studying biomedical engineering. Wilson noted that people are going above and beyond at a time when people’s personal lives are being affected: “That they are willing to work in order to keep the hospitals running is inspiring.”