Langara College needs to clean up its soap act—students say

Hand sanitizer station
One of the many Purell hand sanitizer stations found around the Langara College campus. Most were full the day our reporter checked, except the one in the journalism department.

Hand-washing is the single most important action one can take to avoid getting sick, especially during cold and flu season. With a couple of exceptions, soap, paper-towels and hand-sanitizer are all widely available on campus.

Deborah Filleul, a coordinator in the nursing department  said that students might want to consider getting flu shots if they haven’t already and to make sure they wash their hands thoroughly. “Contact with other people and things like doorknobs,” is an easy way for the virus to spread she said.

Taking care to sneeze or cough into your sleeve to avoid spraying germs everywhere and infecting others is also critical.

Most hand-sanitizer dispensers around campus are full, although one in the journalism lab A225 has been empty since the second week in September.

Deane Martin, building services manager, facilities and purchasing was scheduled to speak with the Voice Online, but refused when he spotted the video camera.

“Tell her to turn it off,” he said before walking away.

Student Robin Bartlett said he’s careful to wash his hands, citing a study which found a much greater number of bacteria were identified on hands when someone had just quickly wet their hands with water rather than carefully washing using soap and water. There is usually soap in most of the dispensers on campus, but it has happened that the first one he tried was empty.

Alexa Fraser and Tayler Krienke, two general arts students say they both carry hand-sanitizer with them so they haven’t noticed any problem accessing it from the dispensers on campus.

Krienke said soap and paper towels are always available in the bathrooms when she needs them. While she’s careful, she doesn’t use hand-sanitizer “except when I absolutely have to,” noting concerns about developing bacterial resistance.

Both say they wash their hands regularly.

“I’ve been able to avoid it [getting sick]. I’m a big hand-washer, even after playing a musical instrument,” Fraser said.

Simone Pfeiffer went around campus to check out the hand cleaning facilities.

Reported by Simone Pfeiffer and Jennifer Thuncher


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