Healthy living space, healthy life


Sam Boggs

This Oakview room is spotless and ready for move-in.

It was once said, “One, who maintains cleanliness keeps away diseases.” A common problem that can lead to messy rooms is the slow accumulation of little trinkets and papers that soon swallow up the floor, then the bed, until there is nothing left of the actual room.

This clutter does not only affect the living situation but it can also impact the body as well. A 2016 Psychology Today article titled, “The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness,” reported that in a 2010 study, women with messy homes were found to be more exhausted and they had an increase in the stress hormone Cortisol.

A 2011 study conducted by Princeton University found that students struggled with focusing on one task when surrounded by a messy environment. The visual cortex becomes overwhelmed by other items causing the subject to find their attention divided. Even making the bed can lead to a better night’s sleep.

Most students will divide the chores amongst roommates but if they are living in halls such as Hill Hall, Van Wagner Hall or Fitzgerald Hall, they find themselves with communal bathrooms. Fortunately, students are not expected to take care of these facilities. The Assistant Director for Residential Facilities, Kevin McDougall, is in charge of a team of 30 employees who meticulously clean the bathrooms in these halls every day. Armed with cleaner and disinfectant, two people from the janitorial staff sanitize every sink, partitioner and toilet seat in the buildings.

“My staff do deep cleaning,” McDougall said. “The students at Oakland University will find every nook and cranny of their rooms and bathrooms cleaned to perfection. I am so amazed by how much love and passion these staff members put into their job. They’ve even gone back to rooms already done to clean again because they didn’t feel it lived up to the standards of what they can do.”

The staff is prepared and take precautions for students, they even call in a K-9 unit twice a year to guarantee no bed bugs are living in the mattresses that students are using. McDougall is not the only one to notice the staff’s hard work. Joey Baumbach, a junior at OU, shared how much the custodians are appreciated.

“At Van Wagner, we had a custodian come in every day.” Baumbach said. “She did a great job of keeping things tidy. Every now and then there would be a pretty bad mess left for her to take care of such as toilet rolls stuffed into the toilets. Our whole floor got her a thank you card for being so nice though,” Baumbach added.

The dedication that the staff put into their work should be inspiration for all students to maintain a clean room, not just for their health but to respect others as well.

McDougall had some advice to share with the students on how to better care for their rooms. “Your mom is not going to be coming through and picking up after you,” he said, “…Please treat [the residence halls] as if it was your own home.”

Maintaining a clean, healthy and happy environment should be important to every student, and it should be equally important to give thanks to all those who worked together to make our facilities the best that they can be.