As sophomore Matthew Foster walked into Pearson Residential College recently, he paused for a moment and stuck his hands out to sanitize them under one of the new Purell dispensers.
When a minimal amount was released he jokingly threw his arms up.
“This is unacceptable,” he said.
All over campus these sanitizers have been popping up. Nearly 200 new sanitizer stands have been set up in high-traffic public access areas and lobbies of all buildings.
“This year we brought in the sanitizing stands as a part of our campaign against the H1N1 virus,” said Humberto Speziani, interim vice president of business services. “We have also been sending out flyers and putting up posters pertaining to hygiene and safety tips, which in addition to the sanitizing stands, have contributed to the relatively small number of H1N1 cases at this university.”
Last year, there were only a few sanitizing stands located in the dining halls, Wellness Center and other public areas, according to Speziani.
“The hand sanitizers have been placed throughout campus in hopes of minimizing the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Howard Anapol, director of the Student Health Service. “Hand washing is an important part of attempts to reduce the spread of the flu and other infections.”
Speziani said the lotion inside the stands is the same Purell sanitizer that you would buy at your local drug store. The university chose Purell over other brands of hand sanitizers because it was the easiest one to source and was the most readily available.
Each of the sanitizing stands costs roughly $75, which includes the stand, unit, and soap. Refilling them costs about $11, and that task is performed by Unicco, the school’s janitorial services company.
Unicco workers are supposed to refill the stands regularly as they do their rounds or if someone reports that they are out.
Speziani says he has received a lot of positive feedback from faculty and students.
“Basically, they want more,” he said. “They want them and they are using them.”
Speziani noted that UM currently has more stands on back order due to the high demand. Officials plan to distribute additional units outside of large classrooms, labs, and on most floors of campus buildings.
Purell hand sanitizing stations are also popping up at special events such as the President’s Picnic, Parents’ Weekend, and boarding and exiting buses for the football games.
Speziani stressed that students, faculty, and staff need to adopt good hygiene habits to ward off illnesses.
“Use the hand sanitizing stands if you cannot wash your hands, after you use the bathroom, shake hands with someone or touch hand rails,” he said.