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A quick fix for cleaner dorms

By Mia Edelstein

Section: Opinions

October 7, 2016

Among the laundry list of things that are missing from Brandeis dorms, there is one thing that is actually an easy fix: communal vacuums.

With the daily wear and tear that dorm rooms receive, vacuuming them seems like a no brainer. Some of us have dustbusters, but even those are only good for small messes. And a dustbuster can’t tackle anything in suites, which are large and can usually register parties, making them more inclined to be dirty. No one wants to be hunched over a hand vacuum, barely making a dent in the dirt, when you could easily clean the mess by full-size vacuum in a matter of minutes.

However, buying such a vacuum is cost prohibitive for students. Additionally, no one in college would vacuum all that frequently—once a month is my guess, once per week for the hyper-clean among us. So barely anyone at this school owns a vacuum because it’s a ridiculous investment. Even if students were to buy vacuums, where would they store them at year’s end? Most students use a storage service rather than haul all of their belongings back home. Standard storage boxes don’t fit vacuums, and you have to pay a fee to store any exceptionally large objects. It is in no one’s best interest to have their own vacuum.

But it is in Brandeis’ best interest for us to vacuum our floors. The more often that they’re cleaned, the less often that Brandeis will have to replace the carpet because it’s in disrepair. This is also an important life skill. Once we graduate and move on to our own apartments, it’s no longer acceptable to have your floor feel more like the outdoors you’ve tracked in than carpet. If we begin to get in the habit of vacuuming our first year, we’ll have some of the cleanest homes post-graduation.

I would love to occasionally vacuum my floor. But I never do because I don’t have access to a real vacuum and instead let the dirt and crumbs and turf pellets sink deeper into my carpet until Facilities cleans my room in May after I move out.

Logistically, this poses some challenges, but not insurmountable ones: Where do you store the vacuum? How does Brandeis ensure the vacuums aren’t stolen?

To combat some of these issues, vacuums could be stored in facilities closets. One way to hold students accountable for the vacuum is to have a swipe system of taking it out. Maybe the vacuum is locked in the closet via a swipe so that you must swipe your Brandeis ID in order to unchain it from the wall. As the CA on call makes their rounds, they could even make sure that all present vacuums are locked up at night to make sure that no one is skirting the system by leaving the vacuums unlocked.

If Brandeis invests in one vacuum per floor of each building, it would avoid the problem of students breaking them while taking them up and down the stairs, thereby lengthening the life of each vacuum. We have a communal kitchen. We have a communal hall lounge. So why not a communal hall vacuum?

It’s not the end of the world if we work on the honor system and simply take the vacuum when we need it and return it promptly. After all, we are all adults. Brandeis will have to trust us not to steal from the facilities closets, to handle the vacuums with care, and to return them. So we need to step up to the plate and embrace our status as responsible adults.

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