SFU’s inefficient sinks don’t promote healthy hand-washing

Short bursts of freezing water aren’t enough to wash the germs away

Sink’s broken, guess I’ll die. Photo: Nicole Magas/The Peak

By: Paige Riding, News Writer

This cold and flu season, SFU took it upon themselves to stick up a bunch of signs explaining when and how to wash your hands. Like a Hello Kitty Band-Aid put on by a blind nurse, the signs were put up with the best intentions, but miss a big problem. It feels like half the sinks on campus don’t work, and the other half provide water cold enough to take your breath away — and not in a “Scar saying ‘long live the king’ to Mufasa before sending his brother to live in the clouds” kind of way. SFU needs to fix their sinks before they start pontificating about how people should be more hygienic.

Like many of the students sitting in AQ, the sinks in the washrooms of that building do one thing really well: they sit there, showing promise of working to those who pass by, only for nothing about them to work at all. 

These broken and ice-cold water-dispensing sinks pose a serious health risk. Some people may give up on the attempt to find a functional sink, thus spreading whatever germs colonized on their hands to the next surface they touch. Others may grimace at the icy-cold water, deciding to cut their hand-washing routine short. For the sake of all students, staff, and faculty on campus, working sinks are a necessity that should be treated as just that. They are tools that make campus cleaner and safer for everyone, and should not be neglected by SFU Maintenance & Operations.

And while the debate continues about whether or not hot water is the better option, what virtually 100% of folks who are not lizard people agree on is that the freezing bursts of water that some sinks spit out on campus is not ideal. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website says that scrubbing one’s hands for a minimum of 20 seconds is sufficient to kill a bulk of harmful bacteria. The short bursts from many button-activated sinks on campus do not reach a time near this. At the best of times, SFU patrons will repeatedly press the button so that enough water can flow for the recommended hand-washing time. At the worst, the brisk five-second initial supply of water will be deemed enough, resulting in an ineffective attempt to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease.

SFU needs to practice what they preach on these informative signs. While informing the SFU community on how to defend against diseases is great and all, with such useless sinks to execute these instructions, no one benefits. There is nothing to lose but everything to gain by fortifying the tools available to stop the spread of germs.