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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: UA students need to learn to respect our campus and the people who work to keep it clean

The problem of college students not being willing to pick up after themselves not only demonstrates their inability to successfully transition into adulthood, but also a lack of respect for the UA’s custodial staff.

Restrooms are the most apparent places on campus where students seem to feel as though they suddenly aren’t responsible for maintaining a clean space around them. Just because these bathrooms are not the personal ones their roommates and selves use at home doesn’t mean leaving these spaces resembling pigsties for their fellow students to use in the future is acceptable, mature or civil.

This problem around our campus indicates what some describe as the problem of narcissistic millennials not being able to complete even the most basic tasks of caring after themselves. Brooke Donatone, a psychotherapist based in New York City wrote in Slate that she has had “at least 100 college and grad students … crying on my couch because breaching adulthood is too overwhelming.”This problem is also probably what gave rise to the booming, yet ridiculous cleaning service businesses targeted at college students.

The most popular cleaning service seen around a college campus is the laundry pick-up service. College kids need to learn on their own how to balance their time — from social lives, to jobs, to education to laundry — even if that means learning it the hard way. These types of services basically resemble a corporate “mom” that does every task for them, only hindering students’ potential to grow up and become independent adults.

A misconception that many students hold on campus is that these menial tasks, such as doing laundry, cleaning their apartments or dorm rooms and keeping their restrooms clean, do not help them complete the more important tasks at hand such as doing homework or studying. It is because of this system of prioritization that students feel like they are able to brush off the simplest forms of cleaning up after themselves to the custodial staffs.

A study conducted by the American Public Power Association, though, concluded that “There is a correlation … the cleaner the learning space the greater the probability that students perceive they will learn.” However, the study also noted that while universities and their range of cleaning services were growing, custodial staffs’ budgets on campus were either staying the same over years or in some cases, decreasing.

College students need to start learning to maintain clean environments around campus for a variety of reasons which all benefit them in the end. Aside from the obvious fact that no one wants to use gross restrooms or public spaces around campus, improved personal cleanliness habits would force students to start approaching the idea of becoming self-sufficient adults, improve their learning environment and decrease the burden on increasingly low-funded custodial staffs.

At the end of the day, no one is going to trust college grads to tackle the tasks of cleaning up world’s messes if they cannot even clean up the messes they left behind on the Student Union Memorial Center tables this morning. 

Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.

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