When you notice the trash can is overflowing with garbage, what do you do?
According to housekeeper Robin Perry, stacking more trash on the already mountainous pile is not the solution.
“Let’s not play Jenga and see how far up the wall the trash can go,” Perry said.
Perry is a Muncie native who currently resides in Hartford City. At Taylor, she served as the English Hall housekeeper for 12 years. You can now find her around Olson Hall, Wengatz Hall and Bergwall Hall with fellow housekeepers Kelly Pace and Kathy Brown.
“Each dorm has a different (feel) and atmosphere, and each floor within a dorm (is) different,” Perry said. “Without (calling) them out, some of the floor(s) get crazy.”
Perry said she hasn’t seen any “crazy” stories come out of English Hall, but she did recall how strange it was cleaning the dorm during the early months of COVID-19. No one knew at the time how the virus spread, leaving the housekeepers to disinfect surfaces as frequently as possible.
While we now know that COVID would force students to finish their 2020 spring semester at home, a few students were hopeful the shutdown would end quickly.
“Some students left their belongings in their rooms when they went home,” Perry said. “It was strange to see (the dorm) with no students around.”
Perry’s workday begins at 7:15 a.m., when the housekeeping team cleans the front entrance of a dorm and gradually works their way back through the halls. Next, they clean the dorm’s kitchen, and later, the bathrooms. Then, Perry vacuums the carpets, sweeps the stairs and picks up lost socks in the laundry room.
Besides the many games of trash can Jenga that Perry has witnessed, another housekeeping issue students should keep in mind is to leave their things in their room, not the hallway. According to Perry, this makes vacuuming the hallways more difficult.
However, she says the hardest part of the job is cleaning the dorms after students leave for the summer.
“After you all leave for the summer, we go into every room and clean that room from top to bottom,” Perry said. “That is a lot of furniture to push around.”
Perry’s family has a lot of Taylor connections, starting with her husband Don Perry, who works at the print shop in The Bishop’s Nook bookstore.
The two were high school sweethearts who met through marching band. Don played the saxophone while Robin marched in the flag corp.
They were practicing a routine for the Indiana State Fair marching band competition when Robin lost control of her flag.
“To this day he will tell you I got his attention by hitting him (on) the head with my flag,” said Robin. “I may or may not have (hit him).”
Robin and Don have been married for 43 years and have two sons and three daughters. Their oldest son Adam Perry (‘04) is a Taylor grad who worked for Taylor’s marketing team for 14 years before starting his own videography and photography company, DaySix Outdoors. Their youngest son, Justin Perry, graduated from Ball State and now lives in Rome with his wife and three dogs.
When Robin isn’t with her family, she can be found in Hartford City working at Perry’s Archery Center, which she co-owns with Don. The Perrys opened the archery shop after closing a previous business.
In 2009, Don was working for Taylor part-time and made the tough decision to close his business due to the recession. Robin knew he had a passion for archery, so she suggested using his spare time to reconvert their old building into an archery shop.
After her cleaning shift is through, Robin works full-time alongside her husband at the shop, open 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The shop hosts several indoor archery tournaments at the state and national level, which Don also competes in.
While the store primarily sells bows and arrows to hunters, it also opens its doors for Taylor students on Pick-A-Dates. Don gives them a quick archery lesson at the store’s indoor target range, and then lets the students try their hand at target shooting. Sometimes students shoot balloons on the targets; other times, the men and women compete against each other.
The couple enjoys having students visit the shop.
“It is nice to see the students off campus in a different environment,” said Robin.
Students who visit the Archery Center may also spy a furry friend: the Perrys’ bloodhound, Addison Grace.
“When you come to the Archery (Center) she is there to greet you,” said Robin. “She loves the Taylor students.”
Robin, too, loves Taylor students. Whether you see her cleaning in Olson or helping customers at Perry’s Archery Center, Robin has a heart for Taylor students and wants to get to know them. Next time you see her, show Robin you appreciate her hard work by saying “Hi” instead of playing trash can Jenga.