Put That Thing Back Where It Came From (Or So Help Me)

What’s Got Me F****d up This Week?

By NIA ROBINSON

We need to treat our staff better. Right now, there is an extreme lack of respect for dining hall, facilities and custodial staff by students. It’s beyond unacceptable. Let’s take my hall this year for example. It’s home to some lazy people. If you leave plates around in your room, fine. Empty grille? Up to you. Plates of stale food in your mini-fridge? To each their own. However, when you bring this into common spaces with the expectation that someone else will clean up, it is, at its core, an act of dehumanization.

Before you enter the kitchen down the hall from my room, there are two signs that tell you to clean up after yourself. If that isn’t enough to let a bunch of 20-year-olds that we are to clean up, there are signs over the sink, table and recycling bin. It makes me wonder how you could still leave your trash and dirty places around. If the kitchen isn’t enough, go look in the bathroom and I can promise you there’s at least one cup on top of the paper towel dispenser or empty beer bottles in the trash, like there aren’t recycling bins ten seconds down the hall.

Now you may be thinking, “Nia, isn’t that just the actions of a few? We can’t judge everyone for that.”

And to put it simply, no. It isn’t just my hall (which, by the way is in the same building as a dining hall; there is no excuse). It’s the person who left a mug somewhere in Axinn. The people who sit in the dining hall thirty minutes after it has closed like they don’t see people trying to clean up around them. The suite who drunkenly urinated in a corner and left it for someone else to clean up. Even the guys who dropped a pumpkin from the fourth floor and, you guessed it, left it there for someone to clean up. I’m sure by now you get the point.

If you’re thinking that none of that could be you because you’ve cleaned up after yourself or other people, great. The dining halls have cookies sometimes and there are enough for you to have ten.

This isn’t about one or two groups of people. We have all knowingly or unknowingly done something to make someone else’s job harder. We lose track of time, absentmindedly forget a dish in class, or drop something while we’re sprinting to the next activity. I’m not calling out people for being human, but most of the time we are aware of our actions. As a side note, alcohol is not an excuse.

Maybe next time, move out of the way for someone with a cart walking through. The utensils will still be there when they pass. It’s okay to leave a dish in your room and bring it back to the dining hall next time you go. You can even consider saying hello, thank you or how are you the next time you’re at the mail center. It really isn’t that hard and, luckily for our schedules, it doesn’t take that much time.

That being said, what is a complaint without a solution? Understanding the element of financing and to avoid making someone else’s job harder, I plan to work with staff and administration. First, it would be a good idea to add buckets of soapy or sanitizer water in dining halls, so people can wipe down their tables before they leave. Students complain about dirty tables and nowhere to sit; here’s a solution. Also, if it is possible, we can increase the amount of refuse and recycling bins outside. With this, I would hope students are more inclined to pick up trash they see. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of trash littering the campus, but if we didn’t have people cleaning up after us, it would be more noticeable. A final idea would be either having accessible cleaning materials in all dorms and houses. I’ve only lived in three places, so I am not aware if this already exists across campus. The rest of my ideas are shifts in culture, which I would love to discuss with anyone.

To end, I want to remind everyone of the importance of their role in maintaining this community. The staff do not exist here to serve us and put up with a lot more than we thank them for. I know staff appreciation is only one day, but what better way to show them we appreciate and respect them than to actively be decent human beings.

If anyone has a counter argument that does not involve how much money we pay to be here or how much work we have, I’m all ears!

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Put That Thing Back Where It Came From (Or So Help Me)