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Working Before the Dawn

Heating up green tea in a microwave at 4 a.m. on the second floor of Buzzard Hall is how Jenny Thompson needs to start her day. Thompson, a building service worker at Eastern Illinois University, begins her workday when the only students still awake are toiling away in their books or stumbling home from a late night out.

Thompson, one of four BSWs who work the 4 to 11:30 a.m. shift in Buzzard, has worked in the building since Summer 2011.

Thompson said it took her a week before she had a system to get through the building.

Now, she moves through the offices and hallways with precision and swiftness. Only momentarily stopping to wipe a black scuffmark from the floor with her foor when she spots them.

Thompson describes her job at Eastern as one of the best she could have asked for.

“If you talk to the students and get to know them everything will be good,” she said.

I originally wanted to work on this story last semester, but I couldn’t find the time to get it done. With a little more free time to work on some of my own projects I was able to pretty quickly find someone willing to let me follow them for a few hours. I was lucky because Thompson was great to work with. If you want to see more collected photo essays head over to the Photo Essay section of the site.

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