Some residence hall showerheads are being replaced after AU technicians noticed over spring break that some of them were not the ones originally installed.
D.C. regulations require showerheads to have a flow of two gallons per minute as a method of saving water, Director of Facilities Management William Suter said. AU showerheads release less, at 1.5 gallons per minute.
“What [AU technicians] found in some restrooms is that the students had gone to Home Depot and bought a new showerhead that was not following D.C. regulations” and were releasing more water, Suter said.
Only showerheads that looked to be a different size and style were changed. Not all showerheads are changed in residence hall bathrooms, according to Suter.
Some students do not like the new showerheads.
“They suck because you can’t wash your hair,” said Kogod freshman Ronak Patel, a resident of Hughes Hall. “For people who have really long hair, there’s just not enough water.”
Some students who have not dealt with the low-pressure showerheads do not want the change.
“Don’t fix what’s not broken,” said School of Public Affairs freshman Ariel O’Shields, a Letts Hall resident. “I’m tired of Letts fixing things that aren’t broken and not fixing things that are broken.”
Suter said he has heard few student complaints about the showerheads since spring break, when many were switched.
“If it was something that dramatic, I would’ve heard noise a lot sooner,” Suter said. “But if there was an outcry, I was unaware.”
Bathroom paper towels to be composted
All bathrooms on campus now have signs encouraging students to only dispose of papers towels in trashcans, part of a new campus project to compost paper tissue products. No additional trashcans have yet been added to the bathrooms.
Sustainability Coordinator Emily Curley said another recycling bin may be provided in the bathrooms to encourage separation.
“I understand it can be less convenient to find another trash bin, but this is a major way we can help reduce a lot of our waste that is currently going to the landfill to a better use,” Curley said.
Composting paper towels in bathrooms campus-wide is a sustainability project implemented by the Green Eagles program, Curley said
Last fall, Green Eagle students performed a day-long waste audit in South side residence halls, where they searched through a half-ton of garbage to determine its components. Of the waste, 13 percent was tissue paper, paper towels and napkins, Curley said.
“We identified the paper towels as a pretty easy and efficient way to be able to reduce waste … and turn them into a useful product for the soil,” Curley said.
The paper towels are composted in Maryland, along with the organic waste from the Terrace Dining Room.
Curley said the most common non-paper tissue item found in the composting bins is glass bottles, which can ruin the entire compost.
“Imagine you have shards of glass in the soil,” Curley said. “That’s not a useful product for the people who are benefiting at the end of the composting project.”
Some students support the efforts made by the University.
“A lot of people see the bins and don’t pay attention to them because they don’t think about where they throw their trash,” said School of International Service freshman Juliet Otoya, a resident of Letts Hall. “The school can’t be eco-friendly if the students don’t help.”
Other students said the bins are a great idea, but can be a hassle.
“I think they’re cool, but they’re easily contaminated,” said SIS sophomore Julia Webb, a resident of Centennial Hall.