George Washington University used to provide cleaning services for its freshmen students in suites; no more. Now students must clean their personal spaces; common spaces are still cleaned by staff, of course. A few other institutions offer cleaning services for private student spaces–most often bathrooms. Some cite the basic cleanliness issue: dirty bathrooms are nasty things, and can spread illnesses–such as staph infections–which already burden campuses. Some students find the maid services a selling point; others are neutral on the issue. In addition to the expense, some institutions have had complications with maid services; sometimes students’ rooms or bathrooms are too dirty to be cleaned. What then?
But wait…I have a disclaimer. I didn’t have a maid in college. Or any other time. I actually worked as a maid, for a little while, between other jobs. All things considered, it was a nice job. I listened to music on headphones and I cleaned private homes, which were usually not particularly dirty. But still, the idea of having a maid is foreign to me, especially having a maid in college.
I’m probably just saying this as an Old Grumpy Person, but I think it was useful to see how appallingly dirty a space can get without enough cleaning. I realized, sometime during my junior year while evaluating my bathroom before a parental visit, that there was nothing inherently clean about precious me. The bathroom was disgusting, it reflected badly on me, and I had to do something about it, lest I make my mother cry. In my late-teens and early 20s, I gradually became a tidier person. When I had to clean my own space, I tended to be more respectful of it and more careful not to mess it up again. I’m far from a tidy person right now (just ask my ACUHO-I colleagues, who have seen my office), and my husband and I have a dog whose primary avocation is shedding hairs that corkscrew themselves into our rugs and clothing. But I think learning to clean, by learning about not cleaning, was useful.
That said, I understand about the staph infections. My housemates and I are probably fortunate we were not killed by our own bathroom, though we found our ancient and thunderous washer quite fearsome. Our worries were probably misplaced.