By Siri Agrell
Tired of complaining about Ryerson’s dirty bathrooms, five nursing students have decided to take action.
Felicia Alleyne, Yona Attis, Susan Sproll, Karen McFarlane and Denise Wilson—all third-year nursing students—have researched the health risks of dirty bathrooms, and discovered problems ranging from E.coli poisoning to bladder infections.
“If you touch the toilet seat, you have to wash your hands at least five times to remove the bacteria,” said Alleyne. “And those hand dryers just spray germs all over you—it defeats the purpose of washing your hands.”
They began examining the dangers lurking beneath Ryerson’s toilet seats and taps and decided to incorporate their research into a project for a third-year community nursing course.
“Rather than just writing a letter or something, we wanted to create a real change in our own environment,” Alleyne said.
As part of their research, they called the custodial hotline number that’s posted in each bathroom.
The first time Alleyne called, it took more than an hour for a cleanup crew to show up. The second time, it took 25 minutes.
“They do try,” she said. “I understand they have other maintenance issues, so the real problem is going to be changing student behaviour.”
Next fall, the group plans to launch a poster campaign encouraging students to have respect for Ryerson facilities. Before implementing their campaign, the group approached Gayle Sutton, RYerson’s manager of custodial services, to see if she had any objections.
Sutton said bathroom problems have decreased this year, and the hotline is allowing custodial crews to deal with student concerns promptly.But she said the school is open to student suggestions.
“I’ll have to see what they come up with,” said Sutton. “But really, anything helps.”