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Annual University Cleanup Hires Freshmen to Do the Dirty Work

October 15, 2019

About a week before most students returned to school this fall at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a group of freshmen arrived on campus to clean. The students were participating in a preorientation program called Fall Clean-Up (FCU) which pays freshmen US$13.50 an hour to clean dorms before the rest of the study body arrives, according to an article in the university magazine The Harvard Crimson.

FCU is the only preorientation program that pays students. The work can be difficult and time-consuming. Some of the participants believe the program is demeaning in that it creates an uncomfortable power dynamic between the students who clean the dorms, and the students who move into spotless dorms. Most of the students who participate in FCU are low income and/or minorities. Other participants, however, see the program as an opportunity and appreciate the income it provides.

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