Facilities Services upgrades restroom dispensers

Tylee Bush

Headline: Facilities Services upgrades restroom dispensers

Subhead: Soap, hand towel machines go touchless

By: Tylee Bush

[email protected]

New touchless soap and hand towel dispensers are currently being installed in restrooms across the Allendale Campus.

Facilities Services at Grand Valley State University is constantly renovating and revamping campus to best meet the needs of students, faculty and staff. Recently, the need to upgrade the old dispensers was recognized as something that needed to be addressed.

It was determined that soap, paper towel and toilet paper dispensers should be upgraded to touchless, automatic ones for a variety of reasons. Unlike the manual dispensers, these touchless dispensers are easier to use and also increase sanitation while reducing waste. The investment is both a sustainability and campus cleanliness initiative.

Workers from Facilities Services are planning to install these automatic, touchless dispensers in all restrooms on the Allendale Campus. Janet Aubil, operations supervisor at Facilities Services, is a contributor to this project. Aubil is responsible for supervising custodians, organizing recycling programs, managing campus trash removal and ensuring that all facilities are functioning to their utmost efficiency.

Aubil confirmed the need for touchless dispensers and expressed her eagerness for the campus to make this improvement. She pointed out the multiple benefits of this renovation.

“Cost savings is one of the benefits, and the packaging that the products comes to us in is recyclable,” she said.

For example, the touchless toilet paper dispensers come with coreless toilet paper rolls, so there will be no more core waste. Also, these dispensers ensure that all of the toilet paper on the roll is used and none gets left behind and thrown away.

Aubil said the other dispensers were also less wasteful.

“We can program the dispensers to give out certain amounts,” Aubil said. “Right now, dispensers are programmed at the smallest amount, and it seems to be enough, which in the long run makes the product last longer.”

Aubil predicted this investment would result in less product usage and more efficient habits. She also said the new dispensers were easier to use, particularly for disabled students, faculty and staff. A test run was conducted to see just how effective these new dispensers would be, and the results were encouraging.

“After talking to the distributor and seeing how well our ‘test’ restrooms did with the dispensers, everyone liked them and the product,” Aubil said. “I see the cost of purchasing toilet paper, hand towel and soap, and there should be cost savings once we start using these items.”

Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president of Facilities Services, also addressed the new upgrade.

“We continue to work with our vendors to offer similar upgrade when the product and investment are feasible,” he said. “Automatic soap and towel dispensers are more sanitary by eliminating these touch points in our restrooms. 

“Also, these new dispensers provide a more sustainable approach by reducing the amount of soap and paper towel used, and we believe this will also provide additional cost savings to the university.”

Phase one of this renovation will begin on the Allendale Campus in the academic buildings, student centers, food service buildings and the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons. This phase is projected to take about two weeks.