UA will provide free deodorant samples during finals week to reduce Reading Room stench

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Smell you later: Personal hygiene supplies will be placed in the reading rooms from the last day of classes to the last day of finals, as mandated by a new bill passed by the Undergraduate Association Senate on Monday.
Greg Steinbrecher—The Tech
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The Campaign for Sanitizer: On Monday, the Senate passed a bill requiring that personal hygiene supplies be placed in reading rooms from the last day of classes to the last day of finals. Senators also discussed campus dining reform and the hours cutbacks at MIT Medical.
Jessica Liu—The Tech

UA will provide free deodorant samples during finals week to reduce Reading Room stench

The Undergraduate Association Senate passed a bill yesterday to provide free samples of soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant in the Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Student Center during finals week this term. The bill, submitted by Baker senator Janet Li ’12, was motivated by concerns about poor hygiene among students studying in the Reading Room. This issue, the bill states, “is most apparent just before and during final week.”

The Campus Activities Complex, which manages the Student Center, has already been coordinating with the UA’s Committee on Space Planning to address hygiene and odor problems in the Reading Room, according to an e-mail sent by Li to the ua-senate mailing list, which is open to the public. “The ventilation system and everything are working fine,” Li wrote, “so the main problem is probably just the students themselves, many of whom get locked up in the Reading Room without taking care of their hygiene.”

With this bill, the Senate hopes to “maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to studying during finals week,” but also, more generally, remind students of the importance of hygiene maintenance, said UA vice speaker Timothy R. Jenks ’13.

Senate will spend $441 from its discretionary fund to provide 50 samples a day of deodorant and mouthwash for six days; the Campus Activities Complex has already obtained free samples of toothpaste and soap.

An informal survey of several students studying in the Reading Room last night found that students do, in fact, find odor to be a problem there: Four out of the five students surveyed who said they study in the Reading Room more than three nights a week said they were bothered by the smell. One of these students, Breanna D. Berry ’12, said she has avoided the Reading Room during finals week because of the smell, so she thought the bill was a good idea. Mojisola O. Jimoh ‘11 also said she noticed and disliked the unpleasant odors, but was lukewarm about the bill since she thought it might encourage students to try to rely on free hygiene samples to stay clean rather than go home to shower.

The Committee on Space Planning and the Campus Activities Complex are also working together to put up posters in the Reading Room promoting stress awareness and good hygiene.

Last school year, Senate passed a bill to keep hand sanitizer dispensers inside the Student Center filled, primarily in response to concerns about cleanliness in the fifth floor Athena cluster.