STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/13/2016


Gordon Life: Hypoallergenic, Short-Haired and Well-Trained

by Sierra Elizabeth Flach '18

This year, Gordon’s Center for Technology Services has an employee who is shorter and hairier than the rest of the crew: Shadrach, a café-grey ninth-generation Australian labradoodle. His job description is straightforward: Keep the geese away from campus.

Long story short: Geese fly over the Gordon College campus and see the Promised Land. They graze for their food, and the quad, baseball field, and Ferrin field provide acres of their main source of sustenance: fresh, short, green grass.

But the average goose produces a pound of droppings per day, and for humans, a playing field with droppings underfoot is not exactly paradise.

“Over the years we’ve tried all sorts of things, like decoy coyotes,” says Chris Jones ’99, associate vice president for technology and operations. The fake coyotes were a social-media sensation with students, but the geese seemed unimpressed. Research indicates there are only two truly effective solutions: pesticides and dogs.

Gordon chose dogs. Companies rent out dogs for this purpose, but in a brainstorming meeting last fall it occurred to Jones that his own dog, Shadrach, would probably work for food. Shadrach was approved by the administration as an assistance dog, and has been issued an official Gordon ID, which he wears on his collar.

With Jones, Shadrach patrols the quad, baseball field, and Ferrin Field at intervals every weekday during business hours, on the lookout for feathered invaders.

On weekends the Gordon Police keep an eye out and inform Jones if there seem to be gaggles of geese invading any areas. As a failsafe, a weatherbeaten coyote decoy has been attached to a remote control car and is periodically set loose on the grounds to patrol robotically when Shadrach is unavailable.

The Shadrach experiment is working pretty effectively, says Jones. They’ve had to chase the geese off the baseball field frequently and from the main quad a few times, but for the most part the campus as a whole is seeing fewer feathers. “I see the geese flying around a lot,” Jones says. “Just by having Shadrach on campus, I thinkthe geese see him and it keeps them at a distance.” 

When he isn’t chasing geese, Jones oversees Gordon’s Physical Plant, Center for Technology Services, Campus Police, Mailroom, and Purchasing Department. “I really enjoy working with people, and my passion is in fixing broken systems and processes, and improving communication,” he says.

He’s also a call firefighter and EMT for the Wenham and Manchester-by-the-Sea fire departments.

As a computer-science major at Gordon, Jones worked in what was then called the “Computer Center.” As he neared graduation, he was offered a full-time job. He’s been at Gordon ever since. “It’s really special to be involved in the lives of young adults,” he says, “and to be part of the College’s mission.” 

Jones and his wife, Emily (Singer) ’99, live in nearby Beverly. Their children Matthew and Kirsten, whom Emily homeschools, report that Shadrach’s favorite game is “Ruff, Ruff, Goose.”

 

Sierra Elizabeth Flach is an English and communication arts double major with a linguistics minor and concentration in creative writing. She is working on an independent study in photojournalism. She is also assistant director of the Student Venues Council, which works to improve the campus. Sierra enjoys road tripping, and spinning records. This story originally appeared in shorter form in The Tartan, Gordon’s student newspaper.

sierra.flach@gordon.edu

 

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