Baruch College is in constant flux with regard to cleanliness and maintenance throughout its campus. While custodians can be seen looming around the club suite or walking from floor to floor in the Newman Vertical Campus, it seems as though bathroom stalls, the undersides of desks and unkempt classrooms are still among some of the most unpleasant sights a student can meet.
This problem, however, is widely perpetuated by some students who refuse to treat Baruch like the home that it is to many other students, especially those who take classes at the end of the day. These students contribute to a cycle of waste and uncleanliness that tarnishes the school’s sanitary conditions.
While it is easy to get carried away in personal or academic priorities, it is important to note that these habits affect the people in our community far more than they affect the person who does not maintain a clean environment. This begs more attention in helping to maintain classroom environments through simple actions such as thoroughly taking care of our own trash or looking out for trash around us. These actions can promote cleanliness throughout Baruch’s common space.
Filthy bathrooms are often an obstacle to students, especially those who spend upward of five hours per day on campus. These students are often forced to shift from stall to stall to find a toilet that is sanitary enough to use and, even then, may choose to refrain from physically touching the seat by squatting instead. This tactic may help keep the student clean, but many students fail to clean the space after themselves, further contributing to the problem.
It is not uncommon to encounter toilet seats marked with blood and other unsanitary fluids.
Because of these unsanitary conditions, custodians are forced to constantly shut down bathrooms in high-density areas. Students are then forced to travel to different floors just to relieve themselves.
These cleanliness issues also extend to students who carelessly litter food, resulting in vermin that plague the club suite area. Janitors are constantly placing traps to capture mice and, while some mice often get caught, it does not erase the initial accelerator of the issue—students who lack a respect for their surroundings.
Classrooms in the NVC are also plastered with signs from the CUNY Baruch Task Force in Sustainability’s 2012 “Take it With You” campaign, which encourages students to take their garbage with them from inside classrooms to trash cans past hallways.
While it is commendable and necessary to put effort into conservation and recycling, there is still a pressing issue with students who refuse to comply to dispose of trash and end up littering throughout the campus five years later. While this is a noble effort, it does not help that these posters fade into the classroom walls. Many students do not even notice their presence or simply ignore them.
Recycling and taking care of litter is not an easy problem to remedy, but taking trash cans out of classrooms and replacing them with poorly placed posters does not do justice for the issue either. Littering is a complex issue that requires reinforcement and constant reminders in order to make sure that everyone practices conservation in the way that it is required of them.
It is necessary that the Baruch community, as a whole, becomes more proactive about the mess that its students are leaving behind and take the time to reflect on how to tackle this problem.
Whether one is at Baruch as full-time faculty or a part-time student, we should all begin viewing the campus as our home away from home and the home of our friends and colleagues, taking the time and effort to treat the building with respect.