By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

When I first began college at KCC in Fall 2016, the appearances of most of the bathrooms on campus impressed me. From the supply of toilet seat covers to automatic flushing toilets and running sinks, the qualities of KCC’s bathrooms were unexpected yet enjoyable to have.

Unfortunately, over time I would notice pieces of toilet paper at my feet while in a stall and other messes, leaving me to wonder how careless someone could be to leave clutters behind. These situations only got worse as time went by, and it came to the point in which I was expecting to find at least one mess in a bathroom I visited. As the sight of paper littered around bathroom floors and urine and excrement left in toilet bowls increased, I found myself intensely questioning why it seemed that nothing was being done to enforce cleanliness or how messes could be prevented.

It was during a Student Congress meeting on Feb. 5 that I was reassured to hear the same concerns and frustrations expressed by students, faculty, and staff. After hearing the views of others during this meeting, I then realized that the answer to my question of who is to blame for these bathroom messes was obvious: It begins with those who use KCC’s bathrooms.

To illustrate this claim, everyone can attest that there has been a time when the toilet paper roll in their stall was uncooperative, causing them to keep pulling until a decent length of paper was available. From this action, often times the roll tears in strange ways that causes little pieces of paper to fall to the floor and is disregarded as we wrap up our business.

This is how the mess starts and continues due to those who use the bathroom because either the thought of having to reach down and pick up those pieces of paper off the dirty floor is revolting or simply because we are too lazy. Until this day, I still remember the saying that a mess should be cleaned by the person who made it, so why does this action continue to lack in KCC’s bathrooms?

The appearance of the first-floor bathroom of the ʻIliahi building was found extremely clean after janitors cleaned it. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

Those on campus should recognize that cleaning up themselves is what helps KCC’s janitorial staff. The janitors on campus can only do so much to keep the bathrooms as clean as possible, and truthfully do a tremendous job of doing so. We as users can lend a helping hand to the janitors as a way to show that we actually care about how we view our bathrooms instead of depending on them as our picker-uppers.

The times that I took a few steps into a stall and discovered a little surprise left behind from the previous user has continued to be my most disturbing bathroom experience. It is understandable that people will trust the sensors on automatic flushing toilets to flush away their mess for them, but some red flags should rise if the sound of water rushing downward is unheard of in the stall.

Trying to understand why this seems to be a difficult task for some is troublesome, but I can see how the simple actions of taking care of one’s business can be challenging for those who may be germaphobic. I recognize that using the bathroom can be dirty, but there are alternatives to cleaning up that will help to make a change.

People can grab a small piece of toilet paper to use as protection between their fingers and the toilet handle to avoid direct contact. Doing this should make people feel more comfortable and willing to flush away their own mess without someone else having to do so. The same can apply to the sheets of paper towels that overflow from the trash can. Keeping your own paper towels flat and slightly pushing down on the heaping pile can help to create more space to prevent continuous overflow.

Granted, there are certain circumstances that those on campus are unable to clean or fix unless if janitors are present. There have been moments when a toilet’s water was flushing nonstop and a large puddle was found near the entrance, but the janitors were quick to react once these problems were brought to their attention.

It is all about taking initiative and keeping our janitorial staff informed that will bring a cleaner atmosphere to KCC’s bathrooms. If a mess is present, making that choice to clean it up will make a difference in the bathroom. Although it may go unnoticed by others, it would be enlightening to know that we are slowly making that change in the appearance of KCC’s bathrooms to benefit those who will use it in the future.