Residence Hall offers game cleaning space

MARK SANDQUIST Sports Reporter

After a great hunt on a cool October morning, it was time for Cameron Sundmark to clean his birds in Hansen Hall’s wild game cleaning room, a facility available to students and unique to Hansen.

Sundmark, senior wildlife and fisheries science major, has used the facility for cleaning birds throughout his years at South Dakota State. He isn’t the only one, though, who brings harvested game to the basement of Hansen Hall during the fall.

“I see lots of ducks and pheasants, with a handful of fish this time of year,” said Meila Miller, building manager of Hansen Hall.

The cleaning room’s freezer houses an assortment of wild game through the end of the school year. Along with the large chest freezer, the room offers a stainless steel cleaning table, hose, trash can and rags for cleanup — all of which make processing wild game more manageable.

Miller said that since the room is available to all SDSU students and can see moderate use, cleanliness is a top priority. Janitorial staff disinfect the room daily, but cleanliness relies heavily on users.

Cody Burggraff, residence hall director at Hansen Hall, is impressed with how well students maintain a sanitary environment.

“The residents have been doing a nice job keeping the room clean,” Burggraff said. “We will continue to offer it here as long as students don’t abuse their privileges.”

Entrance to the room is by key only, which can be rented by SDSU students at the hall’s front desk.

Since the start of the school year, Hansen’s wild game room has been used once every four days on average. Although these numbers don’t seem high, Miller believes that use will pick up as the fall continues.

“Students seem to use it a lot during the fall hunting season,” Miller said. “There really isn’t too much use during the spring.”

Other schools have also created a facility like this for students.

Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota, offers a 12-by-12 foot wild game cleaning room similar to SDSU.

Paul Ekhoff, residential facilities supervisor at BSU, said their cleaning room, which is located in the same building that houses both the campus’ main dining hall and public safety offices, is used by about five people each day during the fall. 

“The other day there were four people in one hour that were in there cleaning birds, and as we get into the ice fishing season, it should fill up even more,” Ekhoff said.

BSU’s room can be accessed by all students, and is available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Another feature of the cleaning room at Bemidji State is how they maintain sanitation. Instead of offering a chest freezer for students to store meat and a trash can to dispose of waste, BSU requires students to take game meat with them and place the waste into a bag in the freezer.

Randy Tisdell, a lead general maintenance worker at Bemidji State for more than 30 years, said that in the past they allowed entrails to be disposed of in the trash, but they soon realized their new system was more advantageous.

“On a Monday morning when you come in after a long weekend, the stuff gets pretty ripe,” Tisdell said. “It’s imperative that we have a freezer, especially during warm weather.”

Although there are differences between the cleaning rooms at SDSU and BSU, both are well received by students. 

“I’ve heard people say it’s a lot nicer to use the room than to clean birds on the back of their trucks,” Miller said.

After finishing up, Sundmark put his ducks into a bag, labeled them, and placed them in the freezer. This won’t be the last time he will be using the facility this fall.

“If I get a deer with my bow this year… I’ll probably be back in the Hansen cleaning room.” Sundmark said.