Q&A College Bathrooms
What is the bathroom situation like in college?
Dorm bathrooms aren’t usually something college students look forward to seeing. The bathroom situation can vary dramatically from college to college or even dorm to dorm within the same college. Below are typical bathroom “types” that can be found at many colleges:
Single-Sex Communal Bathrooms This is probably the most common type of dormitory bathroom. On each floor there are two bathrooms, one for men and one for women. These bathrooms typically have a number of toilets, showers, and sinks.
Gender Neutral Communal Bathrooms Gender neutral bathrooms are also common on college campuses. This means that all people on the dorm hall share the same bathroom regardless of gender. Colleges employ gender neutral bathrooms for a number of different reasons.
- Efficiency It may be more efficient to have one larger bathroom on a hall than two smaller bathrooms.
- Gender Issues Gendered bathrooms reinforce the gender binary and make students who are transgender or gender non-comforming feel excluded and uncomfortable.
- Privacy All bathrooms carry the same degree of privacy regardless of gender. The showers will have curtains or doors as will the toilets. For this reason, many students and staff are apathetic about gender neutral bathrooms. It’s not as though the bathrooms are bastions of nudity or anything.
Private Bathrooms Private bathrooms are very appealing to many college students. Typically, a private bathroom is attached to either a dorm room or a suite. This means that you are sharing a bathroom with very few people. However, bear in mind that some colleges require students to clean their own private bathrooms which can be a definite downside.
Public, Single-Stall, Unisex Bathrooms Handicapped accessible dorms will often have a few single-stall bathrooms for public use. Most of the time these are just toilets but sometimes they will even have private showers. These bathrooms are often sought after due to their spaciousness and privacy.
New college students are also often concerned with communal bathroom/dorm etiquette. Can you walk around in your towel? What about shaving?
In these situations, the best thing you can do is be both observant and polite. In most places, students are comfortable walking from the showers to their rooms in their towels. However, students who aren’t comfortable a free to change in the shower. Most people really aren’t concerned with other people’s bathroom preferences and those who are concerned probably aren’t the best to befriend anyway.
The golden rule of dorm bathrooms is to be polite. If you shave in the sink, clean up after yourself. If you’re in a gender neutral bathroom, put the seat down after you use the bathroom. Common courtesy will take you a long way.
Finally, a brief public service announcement. Many dorm bathrooms have cubbies for students to store their toiletries. Do NOT store your razors in the cubbies. A lazy or intoxicated student may borrow the razor without telling you. Not only is this rude and disgusting, but it can spread serious diseases like HIV. Take the extra 30 seconds and carry your razor back to your dorm with you.
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