Opinion

Can’t keep clean: Hand sanitizer dispensers

William Pitts
Staff Writer

I would like to call attention to an issue of student health on our campus that is not discussed often, if at all.
Across our campus, there are machines that automatically dispense hand sanitizer. For people self-conscious about spreading their germs, these are handy. Sure, we could just go to a nearby restroom and use hand soap, but that requires washing off at the sink and drying off with a towel or one of those awesome Dyson air blowers. Sanitizer, on the other hand, can be rubbed into your hands spotlessly. No rinsing, no drying off. You can just go right back to handling whatever object you were handling before.
However, here’s something disturbing I found. Most of the sanitizer machines on our campus don’t work.
I can only speak for myself here, so I will do so. Recently, I came down with a bit of a cold. Seemingly every other minute, I was forced to blow my nose and hack up mucus into my hands just for the privilege of a breath. (Sorry for the graphic descriptions, by the way.) Knowing this, I wanted to take extra precautions to not spread it, especially at eating establishments. So, when I saw these sanitizer dispensers that I had seen in my peripheral vision for so long but ignored, I finally realized just what a convenience they truly were. Or so I thought.
One dispenser at the Passport Cafe in Pearlstone had a bag of soap installed, but the opening was not correctly aligned with the place where the soap is supposed to come out. The result: when I put my hands over the sensor, no sanitizer came out. I could hear a buzzing sound coming from the machine when I placed my hands under it. The buzz indicated that the machine was trying to dispense sanitizer, but it simply could not.
The machine at the Stimson Dining Hall had a full bag of soap installed and lined up properly, but when I put my hands under it, nothing happened. No, I can’t explain why this is. I have no idea how the machines are powered. They clearly aren’t hooked up to any power outlets, so my guess is that they contain some sort of internal battery.
Most flagrantly, the dispenser at Alice’s Restaurant had no soap bag installed whatsoever, rendering it an entirely useless white hunk of plastic.
I mean absolutely no disrespect to the staff at Goucher. They are the nicest and most approachable staff you could find at a college. However, I humbly request them to remedy this easily fixable problem. In times when colds or allergies could spread across campus quickly, working hand sanitizer dispensers could drastically reduce that risk.

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Categories: Opinion

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