BY STEVEN MASSO
BROWNSVILLE — It’s 11 a.m., and the infamous South Texas summer heat is in full effect.
The temperature has climbed into the high 90s, and nearly everyone on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus has fled to the comfort of a cool, air-conditioned room.
The only person still outside is a man drenched in perspiration, a seemingly undaunted groundskeeper, trimming the bushes with a saw aptly called a double-sided hedge trimmer.
These are the daily conditions to which Rodney Dorsett Jr. is accustomed.
“Every day is a busy day.”
The UTRGV groundskeeper has worked at the university for 15 years now.
DESCRIBE YOUR AVERAGE DAY
Well, sometimes we will come in at 6 a.m., but most of the time we come from 8 to 5. The average day for me usually involves a lot trimming, and picking up weeds. Also, picking up parts of palm trees. We’re ready for anything. They can call us up and ask us to chop something up or give faculty a ride, and we’re ready.
We do a bunch of different stuff, not just grounds-keeping. We do “movers,” which means giving faculty rides across campus, and set-ups for events, too.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB
After we finish trimming and weed whacking, we look back at how it turned out. It’s really nice to see the difference. We also have work-study, so students will work with us throughout the year. Some of them are students from Colombia, Brazil and Australia. It’s amazing, meeting people from different countries and learning about their culture.
TELL US SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU
That’s hard to say because I’m an open-book. I like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Texas Flood. I’ve also been married for 24 years, and I have three daughters and one son.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY, OR STORY, ABOUT YOUR TIME HERE?
It was on graduation day. One of the students from work-study that graduated came up to me after and was so thankful. We had showed her how to trim all the different plants. And I just gave her some advice about life. I told her, don’t give up. She was really grateful. We keep in touch. Many of the students will call me and tell me how they’re doing.
DO YOU FEEL A SPECIAL BOND WITH THE UTRGV COMMUNITY?
Yeah, definitely. The students and faculty always tell me I do a great job. Sometimes, Winter Texans or other people from out of town will come up to me and tell me they love the way the campus looks. That always means a lot to me.
It’s a lot of hard work and sweat. The humidity is big time. The heat gets to 110 degrees sometimes, so I really appreciate when students come up to me and tell me the campus looks good.