Aramark will provide limited housekeeping services in Hughes and McDowell Halls for three days during the week of April 8 to teach students about the value of conflict and social justice issues, according to Eric Ratner, resident director of those halls.
Some students said they are confused about what would occur during the weeklong program, “A Week Without Housekeeping.” Many interviewed said they thought the week might not serve its purpose.
Although many students were under the impression that all cleaning would be cut, Aramark employees will still clean the bathrooms, vacuum floors, remove trash and perform all other normal functions.
The only thing employees will not be doing is washing dishes left in lounge sinks and removing trash left in lounges, Ratner said.
“Students sometimes abuse [Aramark’s] services,” he said.
Ratner said the program is designed to teach students how to handle conflict. Residents will react to the change in different ways and this will create conflict, which he said is a good thing.
Ratner said the fallout over the installation of low-pressure showerheads in AU dorms was one example of how conflict had been beneficial. When students discovered the showerheads had been installed, they voiced their opposition to the change. With the help of the Student Government, they were able to get the showerhead flow changed, The Eagle previously reported.
Although students achieved their intended result, Ratner asked if students had been educated by the experience.
Some students reacted negatively to the planned program.
“It’s a horrible idea,” said Topher Minasi, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs. “[It’s] misplaced and [Ratner] should explain more to the students his real motives for it.”
Ben Gorban, a sophomore in SPA, said his floor, McDowell 5, respects their staff.
“If they really want the entire campus to treat Aramark with respect, don’t do it on a floor where we love our housekeeper,” Gorban said. “Why do we have to suffer when other floors disrespect Aramark [workers]?”
Alex Dow, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, also questioned Ratner’s motivation for creating the program.
“We already know we are messy,” he said. “Why do need a week without [housekeeping]?”
In addition to the limited housekeeping services, there will be programs during the week to further educate students. On April 10, there will a social justice forum at 6 p.m. in the McDowell formal lounge with University Chaplain Joe Eldridge.
Other programs include a program on “Social Justice Improvement on Campus” and a program on “Community Consciousness.”
Residents, however, said the university had not provided enough information to students about the program.
“It’s confusing what they are actually doing,” said Tom Karst, a freshman in SPA.
Dow also said he does not know much about the week.
All the residents’ questions will be answered during an open forum on April 9 at 9 p.m. in the McDowell Formal Lounge, Ratner said.
Ratner said he knew students were upset and expected either “a room full of people with torches,” or no students showing up at the forum.
However, he said he expected the week to be a positive experience.
“It will be a week of discussion, a week of people talking with their [resident assistants,]” he said.
Curtis Harris, an RA on McDowell 7 and a sophomore in the School of International Service, said the most learning would come from the programs.
“I think it will achieve something through the programs we have planned around it,” he said.