This past summer, thousands of graduating high school students and their parents participated in the annual ritual of selecting a college or university. For many, this was not the first summer they had done this, and for most, it involved visiting two or three schools on their college "wish" list.
Of course, cost is always a factor, but by the time the visitation ritual has begun, those schools that are just too expensive have likely been eliminated. And studies indicate there is one consideration that both parents and their children place high on their list of requirements: The appearance -- and especially the cleanliness -- of the campus they are considering.
"Cleanliness is one of the most important decision makers for potential students and their parents," says Christene McInnis, manager of cleaning and grounds at one of Canada's most prestigious colleges, St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. "Parents want their children to learn, study, and live in a clean and healthy environment."
In other words, McInnis goes on to explain, cleanliness is viewed as a marketing tool -- a critically important way to help sell her school to potential parents and students. In fact, she believes the school's appearance helps to not only market a school but brand it as well. This means that when parents, students and teachers think of St. Francis Xavier University, they think clean.
Similar views about the importance of school cleanliness are shared by many college administrators. For instance, at Oregon State University, Tom Scheuermann, director of housing and dining services, says he has frequently heard parents and their children comment on his school's cleanliness -- as well as maintenance problems and the lack of cleanliness they have seen on some other campuses.
Getting the tools in place to market clean
Although it is important that the entire college campus look AS well-maintained AND clean AS possible WHEN parents AND students visit, certain areas of the school definitely come under greater scrutiny THAN others, according TO Scheuermann. "Dormitories, gym locker rooms, shower areas, and large and small public restrooms definitely get a closer inspection," he says.
Unfortunately, these are often the most difficult areas of a school to maintain.
"Traditional manual restroom cleaning systems involving cloths, sprayers, mops, buckets and `elbow-grease' were just no longer serving us well," says Scheuermann.
Scheuermann, working with his local JanSan distributor, decided to find a new cleaning method that might more thoroughly clean the school's wet areas, eliminate any odors, and help market the school as well. The system they selected: The No-Touch Cleaning? system developed by Kaivac Inc.
With the No-Touch system, cleaning cloths, sprayers, mops, buckets, and "getting down on your hands and knees" are no longer needed. Instead, a Kaivac machine applies cleaning solution to floors, fixtures, counters, walls, doors -- essentially all areas needing cleaning. After a few minutes of dwell time, the same areas are rinsed, blasting away deeply embedded soils. The final step, which many consider the most important, involves vacuuming up all the soils and contaminants using the equipment's built-in wet/vac. This totally removes them from the area cleaned.
"What I like most about the No-Touch Cleaning system is just how much more thoroughly it cleans," says Scheuermann. "[And] once an area is cleaned, it stays clean longer and is odor free longer. It helps sell our school just as I'm sold on the No-Touch Cleaning system I from Kaivac."