PULLMAN – From carpenters and mechanics to interior designers and painters, the housing and dining maintenance staff at WSU is a team prepared to fix anything.
Catherine Jasmer, the drapery fabricator for housing maintenance, is part of this team. It’s her job to sew and repair linen and draperies for WSU apartments and residential halls.
Catherine Jasmer (Photo by Tara Cunningham, WSU Today intern).
“It’s a continual job because, with all the dorms and apartments on campus, drapes and linens always need to be made or repaired,” Jasmer said.
She is making drapes for the renovated Stephenson north tower. The fabric chosen must be durable and meet federal standards for fire and safety, she said.
Each drape, which costs about $250, takes about five to eight hours to make. With 242 rooms in the north tower, Jasmer has fewer than 65 rooms left.
“I just love to sew; it’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” she said.
Jasmer has sewn since she was a little girl and received her first sewing machine lesson on her 9th birthday. In 2006, after working at the Bookie for seven years, a co-worker told her about an open position as drapery fabricator, the only job in the state with this title, and Jasmer applied.
She hit the ground running. In the past, housing maintenance tried to repair two dormitory floors each year; Jasmer repaired four floors in one year.
While Jasmer mends drapes and linens, she also prepares all bedding, draperies and towels for guests who visit during conventions.
In the summer she usually takes on one or two interns to help with repairs because she is busiest while students are on break.
“We have a wonderful crew of custodians,” Jasmer said. “They go through and clean the apartments when a student family moves out, and if there are linen or drapery repairs, I’ll fix them.”
Sometimes WSU will contract out to have drapes made, like with the new residence hall on Olympia Avenue and the remodeled Stephenson south and east towers. However, the personal touch can often provide better quality, she said.
When we make things at WSU, they tend to last, Jasmer said.