Since a few Temple gymnasts have reported falling ill with staph infections due to unsanitary equipment, the university’s health track record is being brought to light.
It’s astonishing that a school so obsessed with keeping clean among “average” students – at the IBC Student Recreation Center, the TECH Center and throughout campus to avoid the swine flu pandemic – can be so careless toward the cleanliness of the practice mats for student athletes. These are people who help Temple uphold its reputation as a sports school while working day in and day out to participate in something they are passionate about.
The day I realized Temple might be taking an extra step toward sanitation seemed like an average day. I had walked into Club TECH to find the usual 2-p.m. partygoers, tried to do work for a while over the screaming, but as I went to leave, I was surprised by what I saw: a container of hand sanitizer on a wall near the upstairs lobby.
I thought – and still think – that this is the mode both students and administration should have been in before an attack of H1N1. But, sometimes, I suppose it takes something drastic to begin thinking about precautions.
Since that day, I’ve noticed more ways Temple is keeping campus sanitary. Of course, the IBC always had wet wipes near the workout machines, which is an obvious example, but some really may not normally think to clean the elliptical after using it.
On the Dean of Students’ Web site, the most recent update reads, “Temple University continues to monitor the international outbreak of novel H1N1 influenza … Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.”
Believe it or not, this advice probably isn’t obvious to everyone.
The bottom line is: Many students need to be reminded daily about basic sanitary habits, while active, “hands-on” student-athletes like gymnasts are typically more conscious of them because they have to be. At the very least, it’s those students who Temple should consider first and foremost when attempting to make a difference in the overall health of campus.
I recently started doing yoga weekly at the IBC, and one of the first things I could do is give praise. It’s so great that schools like Temple, so rich in its student amenities, are able to provide a free service in an accommodating facility to students.
But I also noticed more than 90 percent of the crowded room that day used the school’s yoga mats because they expect them to be clean and have no reason to believe they aren’t. Until now, I suppose. This leads me to wonder exactly how many students use university equipment on a weekly basis and how quickly disease can spread. It sure isn’t a comforting feeling.
We as students, merely victims of the illness that spreads so rapidly in a constant social environment, can only hope the university will realize how careful it must be when it comes to sanitation on campus. Upped swine flu precautions means little in the end when worse things are coming from campus carelessness.
Carlene Majorino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors note: Coffee-fueled Conclusions is a biweekly column that reflects on the student perspective of a news article.