The Collegian
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Wanna Help Clean Up? Not Me.

On Monday morning I love to talk to the campus facilities workers about the crazy weekend we had on campus. Though they are not here at night when students throw down, it's amazing what you can learn through the trash and waste on the morning after. As I was informed on Monday, "The trash tells it all."

Before I even caught wind of the weekend parties, I heard about the vomit on the floors, poop in showers and bottles and cans strewn around (and sometimes inside) trashcans. Though we have left home, we are still cared for as if we are incapable of caring for ourselves. The campus facilities consistently clean up after our messes from the weekend before and learn more about our weekend habits than we might like them to know.

Without the details about last weekends parties, it was pretty clear that it was too crazy and too much. Plenty of my friends told me about the "record number of alcohol poisonings this weekend," but I still haven't heard this claim confirmed. Eventually I learned from a hospital EMT that there were five 911 calls for alcohol poisoning last Saturday night. I don't really care about finding people to blame for these events and I don't want to demonize these students for their behavior last weekend (we all know they're neither the first nor the last of their kind), but the weekend should not go unnoticed, and I think it's a good opportunity to learn about the people, including campus facilities, who bring our lives back to normal.

What bothers me most about our attitude is that we all act as if nothing went wrong a few days ago. We manage to joke on Monday morning as if we knew all along that there wouldn't be any lasting consequences. The fact is there are so many people who work after every weekend to bring our lives back to normal It's like a new episode of "The Simpsons" after the city burned to the ground the day before. When we start the week, the bathrooms are cleaned, the trash is removed and life seems restored. What I have been thinking lately is that I just don't want to have to be here when everything doesn't go back to normal. When five people get alcohol poisoning and one of them doesn't make it to the hospital.

The danger is real and it takes a group of professionals and volunteers to keep students alive and well. One group of students in particular, the UR SAVERS,* works every week responding to the call of duty.

Because they are usually first on the scene, the SAVERS keep people alive until the ambulance arrives, which can be much later. Unfortunately they're not usually thanked ... and it doesn't help that they do lots of their work when students are drunk. They don't have radios, vehicles or the equipment for advanced rescue, but each member commits to carrying a pager and devoting all necessary time to an emergency. I guess people just assume that the SAVERS take care of the student body because they want to, or because they get some warm fuzzy feeling from stabilizing severe medical conditions.

We should at least be aware of the SAVERS because it was actually a member of this group who personally responded to six calls last weekend -- five of which were alcohol related. The sick students would have been in trouble if it hadn't been for the SAVER who stabilized them while the ambulance was on its way. The next time you hear the Monday morning gossip at least be sure to add the reason why the person was not permanently harmed.

I understand there will probably always be students wondering how the heck they made it to the hospital when just moments before they were having the best time of their lives. Unfortunately, there will always be campus workers who wonder how students could physically manage some of the messes they have to clean up. I just hope that the next time we have a weekend like the last there is not a campus-wide vigil and personal testimonies as a result.

Contact staff writer Michael Rogers at michael.rogers@richmond.edu

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