The opinions expressed in the opinion columns are those of the author.
If you’re like most college dorm students, you probably dump leftover late-night snack foods into bins conveniently located down the hallway on your floor. In fact, you’ve probably never shied away from doing it – that’s what they’re here for.
This act seems inconsequential, but it can create a significant burden on the concierge staff. The constant flow of personal waste makes hallway bins fill up quickly. As a result, staff members make frequent use of dumpsters, carrying swollen and overflowing bags of garbage and compost. Not only is this an unnecessary inconvenience, some of the items that we automatically throw into these bins may in fact be recycled.
Campus concierge staff – especially those located in residences – are some of the greatest unsung heroes in our college life, and we don’t do enough to appreciate them. They are tasked with meeting some of our most basic needs, a feat arguably matched in difficulty by professors dealing with grade requests during the Finals season.
When students return home after a long night out, for example, they may have ingested alcohol. They may feel a little – or very – dizzy. They can draw a direct line for the toilet, desperately trying to cover as much ground as possible with each step. And unfortunately, they may not make it to the toilet, instead splashing their interior on the white exterior of the bathroom sink and leaving a pleasant surprise for their fellow students.
They call in a janitor, who spends 20 minutes scrubbing and polishing the sink as the putrid smell of vomit lingers in the bathroom. Should the student feel guilty?
Definitively. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried using a shared toilet without inadvertently triggering my gag reflex, only to see the poor janitor on duty working tirelessly to unclog the sink.
Not only do the gatekeepers at this university have to deal with the inevitable consequences of the presence of college students, they are often involved in virtually every other task to keep us safe on campus. Behind the scenes, they are involved in physically strenuous activities – including lifting, pulling and pushing heavy objects – all of which present a serious risk of injury. In addition, caretakers are often exposed to a variety of hazardous chemicals such as those contained in pesticides and mold, which puts them at risk of occupational disease.
It infuriates me when people reject the idea of treating housekeeping better and claim it’s the staff’s job. clean up after us. I can probably assume that most of us college students have worked part time – probably in fast food or retail – at least at some point in our lives. Just because it was our job to serve fast food doesn’t mean we deserve public disparagement from this angry customer who didn’t have the sauce he wanted. While concierge staff are obligated to tidy up our mess, this does not give us the right to be recklessly irresponsible.
At the end of the semester, I implore everyone to try and build a better relationship with our concierge staff. If that means doing the extra two minute hike to the dumpster outside, so be it. Or, if it’s planned to go out on a Friday night, maybe try not to be disabled to the point where it becomes impossible to distinguish between toilets and showers.