By Hannah Benson
Forget your job at Moseley Front Desk or your internship with Live Oak, Elon sophomore Colleen Cody might have the most interesting job on campus. Cody works with the plumbing coordinator of the university and has a position of a fountain cleaner.
And yes, you did hear that correctly.
Cody suits up a few days a week in a thick, waterproof overalls-and-boots-combo outfit that equips her for her taxing job of wading through Elon’s three fountains, wherein she trudges through the water with a long rod attached to a net, picking up leaves, pine needles and other unwelcome additions to the fountain.
“The fountains should be cleaned at least once a week,” says Cody. “The leaves pile up pretty fast and so does the dirt. There is chlorine in the fountains so it is very similar to cleaning a pool, so you could say I’m a pro at both.”
Think about all those times you wished you could jump in the fountain without immediate reprimanding or having to cough up a significant fine. Cody gets to do this every day.
When asked how she landed this job, Cody tells a story about how, partway through her first year at college, she was so frustrated by the fruitless job search that she got into a conversation with a classmate, an older man who worked at the university who was allowed to take a class for free. Before she left their class early one day to attend another interview that didn’t go the way she hoped it would, she opened up to him about the job search that had left her empty-handed. The man told her that if this job interview didn’t heed success for her, he could hook her up with a job on campus. After another defeat, Cody cut her losses and shot the man an email.
It wasn’t until Cody received a reply did she start to understand what she was getting herself into. She remembers that his email invited her in for an interview, and that his signature at the bottom was followed by “Plumbing Supervisor at Elon University”. This was when she started to raise some eyebrows.
But here she is today – cleaning the fountains a few days a week for a pretty penny, and when asked if she enjoys it, Cody had this to say, “I love my campus job and I would totally recommend it to other people. I work about 8 hours a week which is not too bad. I am the only student and female in the plumbing department so it is definitely interesting.”
Cody’s friend Laney Rubenstein, when asked about the job, said that, “I can’t imagine her having any other job. She’s such a funny little person that it absolutely suits her. And weirdly enough, it’s not the kind of thing she even tells people. I knew her for a long time before I heard about it.”
About three days a week you can find Cody suited up and getting her hands dirty in the middle of an iconic fountain. She speaks to how much she enjoys her coworkers, as well.
“All the guys are great! They’re very nice and helpful if I get a little lost doing my job, which happens a good deal of the time,” Cody says. “I mainly clean the fountains on campus. Alamance and Colonnades are my specialties.”
“Would I do it again,” Cody asks, “Definitely. Should you try to apply for my job? Depends on how much you mind getting fountain water in your pants. It doesn’t happen often, but you can’t count out that possibility.”