When an ill student stumbles into the bathroom at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning, he might not think about who will clean up his vomit if he misses the toilet.
Vomit is just one of the reminders of weekend life that housekeepers must deal with come Monday morning. While regurgitation is something that creates messes on a weekly basis, more extreme examples of weekend havoc include used condoms in bathroom sinks and feces on a laundry room floor.
"Oh my God?it's a disaster," says one housekeeper of the mess that confronts her each Monday. The employee, who works in a first-year dorm, requested that her identity remain anonymous.
"It usually takes two days to get [the dorm] cleaned up just from the weekend," she says.
Another housekeeper, an employee of five years who also wished to remain anonymous, recounted the wreckage she has faced after weekends in the college house where she works. In addition to puddles of beer and evidence of urine in trash cans, she describes walls that were soiled with smashed cookies and beer.
"It looked like they just threw glass bottles all over the walls," she says.
Some remnants of weekend life cannot just be mopped up or thrown away. According to Associate Director of Facilities Operations Jeff Tuttle, Monday morning is by far the most common time of the week that housekeepers discover damages in residences halls. He says that on a light Monday, five or six damages are reported. However, housekeepers typically discover 10 to 12 damages after the weekend.
Tuttle says that the most common types of damages include holes in walls caused by kicking or punching, broken exit signs and fire extinguishers, and kicked in doors.
If the individuals who cause the destruction cannot be identified, all residents of the hall are billed.
"I try to stress to my floor that it's important that you own up to [the damage]," says Eric Harrison '09, head proctor of Coleman Hall. "It's that whole matter of integrity that the College definitely stresses."
Harrison says that as a proctor he tries to promote responsible alcohol consumption. However, he says the destruction caused by intoxicated students indicates that students are not drinking responsibly.
"The actions they take when they drink that result in things like holes in the wall, puke, trash in the halls...Whether you're drinking or not, that can't be a comfortable living space," Harrison says.
"It's not fair to housekeeping," he adds.
Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli says that the majority of students clean up after themselves, but there are a few messy students who cause problems.
"There are some students that I'm not sure what we could do to convince them that they need to take personal responsibility," Pacelli says.
"My sense is that it's usually a few students who feel entitled and lazy," she adds.
According to Pacelli, when a dorm falls into slovenly habits, a student will often send an e-mail to the entire building imploring her peers to be more respectful of the housekeeping staff.
Tuttle also acknowledges this sort of action on the part of students.
"They look out for their housekeepers?it's a great thing," Tuttle says.
"A lot of the unpleasant things we deal with are a small percentage," he adds.
Housekeeping Manager Joyce Whittemore echoes this sentiment. She says that the majority of the time, members of the housekeeping staff like their job.
According to Whittemore, alumni returning for reunions sometimes inquire about the housekeepers that used to work in their dorms. Also, when a housekeeper is reassigned to a new building, Whittemore often receives e-mails from upset students.
"A lot of the housekeepers are like dorm parents to them," she says, adding that she knows of one housekeeper who plans to bring Thanksgiving dinner to the students in her building who are not going home for the holiday.
Merry Milne, who works in West Hall, is one housekeeper who has no complaints whatsoever about the students in her building.
"I'm proud of my kids," Milne says.
"Does this look bad?" she asks, motioning to an impeccable hall on Monday morning. "My kids are great, they're fun," she says.
Milne says that the students in West Hall make her job easy.
"I've learned one thing?if you treat the kids with respect, they're good to you."