They're on campus every day, sweeping and mopping, sporting gray polo shirts. Some may consider them superheroes without capes: custodians. 

Housing custodian Darcia Ash has worked at Ball State for 15 years.

Ash began her career in dining, but transferred to housing to secure a more stable income. Housing custodians work year-round, while dining employees share breaks with students.

"I transitioned to housing in 2001," Ash said. "I bidded to come to housing — more money and then you work year-round. ... like when y'all go home, we stay and work."

While housing offered a pay increase and a year-round position, it also offered alone time for Ash.

Darcia Ash

"When you're in housekeeping, you're by yourself," Ash said. "When you're in dining, you have everybody around you, you gotta communicate with this person and when you're in housekeeping it's just you."

Monday through Friday, custodians come in and begin their day by pulling garbage, dusting floors, running sweepers, cleaning study lounges and kitchenettes and move on to the laundry room. After a break, it's time to move onto more cleaning.

Kimberly Ingram

Kimberley Ingram is a newer Ball State sub-custodian. Ingram started at the beginning of September and while she may be new to the environment, she's not new to the cleaning industry. She and a friend started a cleaning business in 2011.

“[We] just didn’t have a lot of different people that we cleaned for," Ingram said. "I knew when I came here it would definitely be a consistent job all the time and I wouldn’t have to be worried about work."

Ingram is also a medical assistant when she's not on campus. She completed her medical assistant degree from Ivy Tech in 2006 and said she went back to school due to family health concerns and wanted to be able to take care of her dad and grandma.

While custodial work depends on the setting, Ingram finds her work on campus to run on a generally predictable schedule.

"You basically know what you’re gonna do throughout the day," Ingram said. "I like that because you kinda know what is expected of you ahead of time — unless something comes up."

Although Ingram has only been on campus for roughly two weeks, she has already had the opportunity to bond with students on the firth floor of the LaFollette Complex. On her second day of work, Ingram has a situation with one of the toilets and some of the girls on the floor actually helped her fix the problem.

"All the girls are really nice," Ingram said. "They've come to me if they need anything; if I don't know where it's at, I'll get somebody to help."