Custodial Services taken for granted: A plea from your peers


Pierce 2nd Floor Bathroom


Madeleine McCormick | News Editor

I take the 50 foot walk to the end of the hall to the bathroom daily, multiple times. Each time I notice something different about the hallway; how clean it is, what door decs look like, what noodles were left in the water fountain that day, how long it’s been since the lounge trash has been taken out, etc. Each time, I’m increasingly disappointed in the cleanliness of my environment, and it’s not because of a lack of the custodial staff, but a lack in responsibility of simple housekeeping tasks from my floor mates.

Each time I go into the bathroom, I notice three things: 1) A sign next to the trashcan that says, “No room trash.” 2) Another sign on the window that asks for students to “please” take their dishes borrowed from the serve to the trash room, and 3) A sign near the shower, taped to a small waste can that says, “put your hair from the shower drain here.”

Pierce 2nd Floor Bathroom
Pierce 2nd Floor Bathroom

Each time I read those signs, I think to myself, “Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.” Yet, of course, each time, there is a clear violation of those menial requests RIGHT NEXT TO THE SIGN THAT ASKS NOT TO DO THOSE THINGS.

So, I complain. I complain to my roommate, to my floor mates, to those living in the suites, and to those living in other dorms on campus, and interestingly enough, each time I get the same reply. “Oh yeah, we have that problem too. I hate that. Why can’t people clean up after themselves?”

Good question.

Growing up, my mom would work her multiple jobs as a fitness instructor, run my sister and I around to our respective extra-curriculars, get groceries, make dinner, and eventually spend her remaining energy and hours left in the day to clean our house.

My sister and I were expected to at least do what I consider the bare minimum: put dishes in the dishwasher, run our laundry completely [folded and put away], and occasionally clean the bathroom. Simple. Easy. The rest of the house work is left for my mom to finish.

I will admit, my sister and I were not perfect kids. We got busy, we were lazy, we had friends, and our housework chores didn’t always get done. My mom understood busy, as long as we got our work done. But laziness, social activities, and never getting around to doing our chores was never an option. It was getting done, or there would be consequences. Her favorite line was, “I’m your mom, not your maid.”

The custodian on my floor is a custodian. Her job is to clean, there is no denying that. So complaining about consistent messes and blaming it on my floor mates seems misplaced, like the custodian isn’t doing her job the way she needs to be, right? Wrong.

The woman on my floor spends 9 hours per day cleaning. Not only does she clean my floor, but she also on occasion cleans in another dorm all the way across campus. She takes out the trash, cleans the bathrooms, vacuums the floors, scrubs the staircases that lead up to each floor, wipes down the windows, and finds any other thing she can do to make sure we have nice facilities to use all day long, every day. Not to mention, she does it without thanks.

Custodians aren’t perfect, but they also aren’t your maid. There is a difference.

The custodial services are here to help you, not do it for you. Does that make sense? Take your trash the extra 50 feet down the hall to the trash room. You walk around campus all day long, a little more walking won’t hurt you. If you make a mess, report it immediately. Don’t stand around and ponder what your next move should be. We are in college, this isn’t kindergarten and you more than likely have access to your laptop or phone to shoot an email to someone who can help you. Aka: the custodial services, or the RA office. Ladies, seriously, start taking care of the bathroom. I honestly believe that the men’s restroom might be cleaner than ours. It’s your hair, take it out of the shower drain.

Finally, take responsibility for yourself. We are a community of people living together in a small space. I’m sure living at home, you had chores to do. It is no different here. Be respectful, and clean up after yourself, and more importantly do it the right way.

Photos by Madeleine McCormick