Housekeepers have yet to replace a soap dispenser on campus

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.—Vineeth Sankoorikal walks around the white-walled corner to the bathroom closest to his dorm room in Devereux Hall at St. Bonaventure University. After doing his business, Sankoorikal, 20, says he turns the gold-colored knob of the green bathroom door and leaves without washing his hands.

Gross, some might think.

Not so. The sophomore biology major says he returns to his room and quietly mumbles “Happy Birthday” twice to himself while he lathers up with soap at his own sink in the corner of his room.

Another third-floor resident, Ryan Whitney, 19, has the same ritual—goes to the bathroom, leaves and washes his

Ryan Whitney and his personal bottle of hand sanitizer . photo taken by me

hands in his room.

The sophomore sport studies major says a soap dispenser once hung above the sinks in one of the third-floor bathrooms, located in the northwest corner of Devereux Hall on the side opposite the Garret Theater, available to all male residents.

Whitney says the plastic box disappeared at the beginning of the semester.

Spring semester began in January 2010, three months ago. The housekeepers still have not replaced the dispenser.

Students should wash their hands before touching food, their eyes, nose or mouth. They should wash after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose, according to a flyer that the director of Health Services, Melissa Gallison Blackstone, helped design.

This flyer hangs in academic buildings and residence halls on campus. It says that to wash properly, students should rub soap on their hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse with warm water.

Instead of counting to 20, Gallison Blackstone says singing “Happy Birthday” twice does the job too.

But not having soap in the bathroom creates quite the pickle.

flyer hung around campus . photo taken by me

Usman Jilani says one of the signs Gallison Blackstone designed hangs in the bathroom where the soap dispenser used to be.

the third-floor bathroom in Devereux Hall on the side opposite the Garret Theater . photo taken by me

The sophomore biology major says that in the beginning of the spring semester, the housekeeper did not refill the dispenser in a timely manner, leaving the bathroom soapless for a couple of days.

Usman Jilani . photo taken by me

Housekeeping always has soap in stock. Reasons that a housekeeper would not refill an empty dispenser could include the dispenser leaking soap or being broken, says Darcy Dwaileebe, the assistant director of housekeeping.

More than a month ago, Jilani, 21, says, soap filled the dispenser, but nothing came out when he pressed. The dispenser

remained like this for about two weeks until someone took it off the wall, he says.

Maintaining soap dispensers on campus can get expensive, Gallison Blackstone says. Should Bonaventure replace them or ignore the absence of soap in a bathroom?

According to Dwaileebe, a soap dispenser costs about $20.

Philip Winger in his office . photo taken by me

Philip Winger, the director of maintenance and physical plant, says that the housekeeping staff puts fallen dispensers back up and replaces the broken ones, usually two to three dispensers a week.

Bonaventure has deliberately not put wrecked soap dispensers back up in kitchens on campus, but “the bathroom is kind of different,” Winger says.

Housekeeping replaces the abused dispensers in kitchens with disposable soap bottles instead, says Winger, because continued repairs get expensive.

The resident director of Devereux Hall, Lauren Prisco, found out about the missing dispenser in late March. She says she submitted a maintenance request form to have the dispenser replaced.

That specific bathroom has been notorious for not being clean, Prisco says.

Lauren Prisco . photo taken by me

Men using the bathroom have urinated on the floor, usually on weekends.


Jacob Sonner, the resident assistant who lives across the hall from the soapless bathroom, says after going to the bathroom, he uses his own sink to wash his hands.

The junior journalism and mass communication major does not know why it has taken so long to replace the dispenser, he says. He thinks that Bonaventure might not have a soap dispenser in stock to replace the missing one.

Dwaileebe says Bonaventure does have extra soap dispensers in stock.

Sonner, 21, says he did not report the missing dispenser. Instead, the resident assistant on duty the weekend the dispenser came off the wall had reported it.

Dwaileebe and Winger say they were not aware of the missing dispenser until notified by a reporter in late March.

Gallison Blackstone says sleep-deprived, stressed college students have weaker immune systems, making them more susceptible to microbes lingering in the close-quarter residence halls.

Because of the recent H1N1 influenza virus scare, Gallison Blackstone has worked to educate the campus that hand washing, the most important form of cold and flu prevention available at Bonaventure, matters.

“This can save your life,” Gallison Blackstone says.

Dwaileebe says she submitted a request form for a new dispenser on March 25, 2010. However, she only filled out half of the request form for the new dispenser, so the bathroom remained soapless four weeks after the submission.

On April 22, 2010, third-floor Devereux residents say that a new soap dispenser has been installed.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I think this is my favorite.

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