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If the college prioritizes maintenance and cleanliness students will follow suit

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Mercer has a beautiful campus that reflects our vibrant community of students and staff, which is why it frustrates me to see some parts of our campus poorly maintained.

By contrast, when walking the Princeton campus I immediately think how well maintained it is. When my friends and I spend an afternoon around the campus, we have yet to come across a single water bottle on the ground or Princeton property being defaced. Questions flicker through my head on how that is. It may be because Princeton has the money to maintain such a clean campus. It may be because of the respect students have for the campus. More important than that, I am left with the question as to why Mercer is not maintained as well.

The Mercer quad is a beautiful place to eat lunch by with friends. However, going to the bathrooms and reading “Big Dick Bandits” or “Jesus Loves You” in size 36 font on the stall doors is offensive and show some people on this campus do not respect it. That’s got to change.

In an interview with Natalia Lobo, a sophomore studying to be a Physical Therapy Assistant, she said that, “They treat [the place] like they don’t live there…it’s a joke for everyone.”

Natalia Lobo went on to explain how often times she comes into bathrooms to find towels and even hair on the floors of our bathrooms. Natalia said, “Students don’t cooperate that much…I guess some (students) have more concern about trying to keep everything clean.”

However, a dirty bathroom is surprisingly just the beginning of the problem. Some bathrooms themselves seem to call for a higher degree of respect. Some Mercer bathrooms are very rundown whereas the ones in MS and AD buildings are newly renovated and in better shape.

For example, if one goes into the men’s bathroom on the third floor of the BS building, you’ll find that one of the stalls does not have a lock. At the same time, one of the urinals is broken and covered. The bathrooms in the Administration building, by contrast, are pristine.

This is where I go back to my story about Princeton. It is possible that because the campus is so maintained, students and pedestrians are more willing to throw away their garbage in a proper garbage can and not the ground.

Joel Cartagena is a Sophomore studying Liberal Arts at Mercer. He said, “It’s kind of immature. It kind of sends a message as if…it makes the campus not seem as professional. Makes it seem like playhouse or a club.”

Just imagine a group of potential students coming to Mercer for a college tour. They are taken to the ES Building entrance and they look to their side and see a billion cigarette butts sitting on the ground. That sends two messages: students here have no regard for the no smoking policy on campus and are also tossing their cigarette butts on the ground when there’s a trash can right by the entrance. Maybe some of those potential future students will decide they do not want to come to this campus because of that.

Bryon Marshall who is the head of Security and Maintenance at Mercer stated, “I think people have a general low self esteem or disrespect for themselves or property of others.”

When it comes to how students and faculty can help keep the campus better maintained he said, “To maintain a better campus work through peer association…if you see something, let us know right away…”

Maintaining a better campus can be as simple as speaking up and reporting something like a broken lock on a stall or when you see something inappropriate written on the stalls. I know for myself I will certainly be reporting these kind of things to maintenance (whose employees, I’m sure, could stand a pay raise).

Another thing that can go a long way is not allowing people to just destroy our campus. Bryon Marshall went on to say “if you see somebody litter…just say ‘come on, man. You know, this is our campus.’”

For the sake of seeing an improvement on our campus we should be maintaining it more. Seeing graffiti on bathroom doors each day should no longer be an issue. Water fountains that have dirt and rust on them should be cleaned up. There shouldn’t be buckets in the hallways gathering water whenever it rains.

When the effort is made by the college to look after these things better, students will likely follow in the example. Both employees and students will take campus maintenance seriously and by working together we may be able to see a campus as well maintained as Princeton.

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