By Shawn Potter
Over the past few years, the residential hall directors have collaborated with Housing Operations at BSU to try and create a solution to the amount of damages that occur in the residential halls.
Since 2014, the Hot Mess campaign has been in effect in the residential halls to try and decrease the amount of resident created messes in the halls.
Edward Grace, the Resident Director of Shea Hall has worked with Amanda Surgens, the Assistant Director for Housing Operations on this campaign.
Grace explained, “The Hot Mess Campaign is a building-wide initiative that began in Shea & Durgin Halls in the Fall of 2014. It was created to highlight cleanliness issues in common areas of the residence hall that would be billed as community damage.”
The ‘Hot Mess’ warning signs are placed near any mess, and the ones responsible have the opportunity to clean up the mess before the building staff cleans it up. By that point, each student in the hall would be charged accordingly if the mess is not properly cleaned up in time.
The Hot Mess warning signs are not just placed by spills left uncleaned. Grace mentions that in the Shea & Durgin halls alone, there were several avoidable damages left untouched.
“Examples of this would be take-out food containers left in a common lounges, leaving a bathroom dirty with toothpaste, or leaving bags of trash in a trash room and not putting them down the chute,” said Grace.
Since all of these messes are avoidable, Grace mentions that they wanted to see if students, when given the chance, would clean up their messes by themselves before the staff has to.
The results of the effectiveness of the campaign have been very clear. Grace explained, “In about ¾ of issued Hot Mess warnings, students clean up the mess. Additionally, we have seen a decrease in the amounts of messes left around the hall, meaning that students are taking care of it without having to be asked.”
Based on the success of the program so far, it was then decided that it would be implemented in every residential hall, not just Shea & Durgin.
Multiple issues, such as intentional damage and vandalism, are always issues that are not impacted by the Hot Mess Campaign. These issues will always be a part of the community damage billing if the party responsible is not identified. However, since the Hot Mess campaign took effect, there has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a significant decrease in the amount of messes left unattended.
All in all, Grace pointed out, “This program emphasizes respect for our halls and the community. When students take the opportunity to take pride in their residence hall and treat common areas respectfully, we end up with cleaner spaces for our students to share.”
In Grace’s opinion, he would like to see the Hot Mess campaign become obsolete. Community respect and cleanliness is a standard which should be upheld by all students, whether they are residents or visitors.
Until that time comes, Resident Assistants are happy to post a Hot Mess warning sign with the expectation and hope that students will clean up after themselves more responsibly.
Shawn Potter is the Opinion Editor for The Comment. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @shawn_potter.