We can help keep our campus clean

Last week at The Ryersonian, we were forced to pause midway through a meeting to swat away a swarm of pesky fruit flies that decided to colonize our office.

So what exactly was the culprit that attracted the insects? It seemed our garbage cans had not been emptied as frequently as they used to be. There’s also been a Hudson’s Bay Olympic mitten that has been lying on the shelf of a first floor women’s washroom at the Rogers Communications Centre — where it’s been for the past two weeks.

The Ryersonian newsroom is like a second home to its senior staff. In fact, as the workloads become heavier each year, we’ve found that we spend an increased amount of time on campus, and we know students in other programs do the same.

We admire Ryerson’s continued efforts to create an environment based on inclusion and comfort. We know if we’re looking for a place to study, we can visit the Student Learning Centre. We know if we need a minute of shut-eye to get us through our upcoming three-hour lecture, we can curl up on one of the many couches on campus. What we don’t know, however, is how much due diligence is being done in the realm of Ryerson’s janitorial efforts.

Recent investigations by The Ryersonian found that almost all of the machines used to dispense menstruation products are broken. About 60 per cent of Ryerson students are women, a majority of whom will find themselves needing a spare tampon at least once in their post-secondary career. It’s simply unfair that when that situation arises, students are forced to use toilet paper as a makeshift solution, or even leave class altogether so they can head to the drugstore.

A message from a frustrated student written on a tampon machine in a women's washroom, SHE 648, in the Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre building on Ryerson campus. October 30. (Jordan Cornish/Ryersonian Staff)

A message from a frustrated student written on a tampon machine in a women’s washroom, SHE 648, in the Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre building on Ryerson campus. October 30. (Jordan Cornish/Ryersonian Staff)

It’s an inconvenience that women rarely discuss, and for the time being, it would be nice to have access to sanitary supplies on campus. During our investigation into the lack of availability and huge price discrepancies of menstruation products on campus, women in our editorial staff could be found visiting different washrooms around school to uncover the truth. Throughout the washroom inquiries, our staff were shocked at how blatantly obvious it was that some washrooms received better attention than others.

We salute our janitorial staff for the often thankless work they do to keep our campus clean. Without them, we’re well aware that we wouldn’t be able to even attend class.

However, we urge the university to reallocate its resources. With our high tuition costs, we don’t think we should have to consciously make the decision to wait to use the washroom until we leave campus and are able to find better maintained facilities.

With more than 38,000 students attending Ryerson University, the demand for clean washrooms is very high. Ryerson is more than a school — it’s a community and a place where we come to grow and learn. Plus, in our pursuit of higher knowledge, some of us end up spending more time on campus than we do in our own homes.

The implementation of Ryerson’s Fix It email address (fixit@ryerson.ca) is a step in the right direction, but it falls on you, too.

Let your voice be heard. Contribute to community engagement out of respect for your fellow peers. Pick up that Starbucks coffee cup you dropped. Send a quick email or use the Ryerson Fix It app when you see something that needs attention. Kindly ask maintenance to pick up garbage if something has been lying around for a while. A clean campus is within reach; we just need to work together.

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Nov. 4, 2015.

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