Ever wondered who shovels the walkways, refills the toilet paper, replaces the lightbulbs, and mops the hallways? Custodial Operations provides daily cleaning services for more than 300 buildings at Boston University. On the Charles River Campus, 16 area managers and 6 assistant area managers lead over 400 custodians—the largest contingent of FM&P employees. The Medical Campus has a staff of over 50 custodians. All of the Custodial staff on campus work around the clock to maintain common areas, set up events, and restock bathroom supplies. They clean the dorms by day and the classrooms and offices by night. Their efforts keep our classrooms, libraries, dorms, and offices clean, safe, and sanitary.

Custodians are often the first to respond to emergency requests and are involved in the final cleanup. They shovel the walkways in winter and operate the Zambonis at the Agganis and Walter Brown arenas. Custodial Operations also installed and maintains automatic hand sanitizers in every building to mitigate the spread of the seasonal flu and other communicable illnesses. The efforts of the Custodial staff contribute greatly to our campus community’s health and well-being.


The University began its Sustainable Cleaning Program in the 1990s to address concerns for worker safety and the desire to increase efficiencies. A major step was the installation of cleaning command centers to better manage chemical use, minimize packaging waste, reduce the University’s carbon footprint, lower the chances of chemical-related injuries, and meet the cleanliness goals of the University. The program has evolved over time as safer, effective cleaning products have become available in the marketplace. The program has shown that a sustainable cleaning program can meet the stringent cleaning standards of the University with 100% of the products certified by Green Seal and EcoLogo, the highest standards available for sustainable cleaning products.

Custodians use concentrated chemicals, diluted as needed, for daily cleaning, which reduces the amount of cleaning solution needed to clean from 55 gallons to 1 gallon, and has reduced plastic waste by 90%. This has also helped to reduce the number of supply deliveries per year. Custodial Operations continually evaluates new technology in cleaning equipment and products to ensure that Boston University remains a leader in greening the campus.

Custodial Operations at BU has enhanced its Sustainable Cleaning Program with a pilot that began with the opening of the Yawkey Center for Student Services in September 2012. The success of this program has led the University to begin rolling out the program across campus. From CY12 to CY13, Custodial Operations transitioned from a campus-wide Sustainable Compliant Spend of 74% to 75%.