by Rima Thompson
The transition to college coupled with the experience of moving from home to living in a dorm is a thrilling and scary change for some students.
On one hand, it presents endless opportunities for making new friends, having new adventures and facing new challenges. On the other hand, it can also be an unavoidable shock of living with others who do not share the same appreciation for cleanliness.
At home, most students might have to do some chores, but many have a parent that will clean up after them.
Unfortunately for some dorm residents, parents do not volunteer to come over and clean while their child is in class.
So, cleanliness becomes the responsibility of the student.
Some students are able to take on this responsibility wholeheartedly. Others however, are unwilling to accept this responsibility.
Bathroom sinks are often left covered with ants because residents throw food into the sink without cleaning it out. They often disregard notes that some resident assistants post up asking people to clean up after themselves.
The showers are filled with massive amounts of hair while some of the shower curtains have fungus on them.
“I think it’s ridiculous that girls are putting so much effort into making themselves look pretty, and then you go into the bathroom and evidence of their efforts are left behind,” sophomore Sara Lesniak said. “There are strands of hair left around the sink and chunks of foundation are in it.”
Residents also leave toilet tissue or feminine products on the floor for housekeeping to clean up.
“Basically there are some nasty, dirty individuals living in the dorms,” said sophomore Nancy Gonzalez.
“They leave condoms everywhere; the toilets are constantly overflowing, and the other day I saw some kind of paint in the sink,” Gonzalez said.
“I think it’s a real issue health wise,” junior Annie Wypchlak added. “A lot of people don’t know how to clean up after themselves. They expect the cleaning service to take their hair out of the shower, to flush the toilet when they are done using it, and it’s just not right. It’s not their job to take care of us.”
In addition to the dirty bathrooms, kitchens are sometimes filled with ants because dirty dishes are left in the sink or their food that exploded in the microwave is not cleaned up, attracting even more ants.
However, there are those that feel that these things are to be expected.
“Dormitories all over the country are going to be messy. You can’t force people to behave themselves,” said senior Kirsten Johnson. “If there are dormitories out there that are clean, and the students are courteous, I’d like to know how they do that. I want to see that type of organization put into play here on our campus. But realistically, dorms are going to be messy, and if you can’t live with it, don’t live in a dormitory.”
Johnson’s comment, no matter how true, is not reflective of several residents who feel otherwise
Many feel that keeping the dorms clean must involve a community effort.
They realize that this necessary effort can create havoc for those who actually adhere to the rules because they will most likely have to do the cleaning for others.
Freshman Chelsea Riggins said that she does not think there is any major cleanliness issues in the dorms. There are the occasional bathroom problems, but the R.A. usually fixes that, she said.
Freshman Cassie Hoeffer addresses payment for damages as a possible resolution.
“If you can’t pinpoint who is doing the damage or making the mess, then I guess it would be justified in at least threatening to make everyone pay for more cleaning,” she said.
Hoeffer’s comment is supportive of school policy. The Guide for Residential Life states that officials do have the right to charge students for damages done.
The guide also states that all residents are responsible for all public areas, and if the person at fault cannot be found, then all residents are subject to being charged for damages incurred.
“I think that charging would be a good idea because it will actually make people more responsible,” Wypchlak said. “It will make people be more watchful if they are being charged.”
R.A. Renee Moore takes a different approach to complaints from residents.
“I just usually get complaints about the bathrooms,” Moore said. “How I deal with those complaints is usually I go around leaving notes expressing other residents’ feelings and that they are in a community, and they need to clean up after themselves.”
Eugene Shang, interim assistant director of ULV Housing Services, said despite these minor complaints by residents, his office has not had any major complaints from students about the lack of cleanliness.
“When we do hear things, we try to send in people to try and make sure that it gets clean,” he said.
If students have major problems, Shang urges them to file a maintenance report located in front of the R.A.’s room of any residence hall or to come into the housing office and notify them.
“If there is something terribly wrong, come and talk to us,” Shang said.
Shang also added that he hopes students can be considerate of the community.
He said, “Be mindful of the rest of the community when it comes to public areas because essentially the community winds up paying for it one way or the other.”
“If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it here,” Gonzalez added.