At first glance, the University of Akron Student Union has the personality of an empty shoebox. But let’s say that’s what college students are like: At first, you have the personality of an empty shoebox, but then soon you are a shoebox with dirty shoes and maybe you have added other items to your box as well. All of us, like bathrooms on a college campus, can become different or better versions of ourselves with each life experience. I don’t have the energy to carry out this shoebox metaphor any further.
Anyway, the Student Union. When I attended the University of Akron, we were lucky to have bathrooms at all. JK. My favorite bathrooms in the Student Union were the single-occupant rooms on the lower level. The second floor bathrooms had too much traffic. As a student, I seldom used the third floor bathrooms, but this is where I found myself on one snowy day in January. It was also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I was there for the Activities Fair.
The event itself was wonderful and left me hopeful for the future. Free food and swag helped too.
When I used the bathroom before leaving, I was pleasantly surprised by this mostly boring room. When you walk in, there is an empty metal shelf. It’s pretty tall and doesn’t look all that sturdy. I guess maybe it’s for water bottles or coffee cups. Maybe someone decorates it seasonally.
There are five stalls, and like with most bathroom stalls, it would be cool if the partitions were longer, but that’s the American way. All the stalls appeared to be clean and well-stocked. Each had a bag/coat hook and a thin metal pull-out shelf.
At the sink, there was a small container with free period supplies. But that’s not even the best part! The best part is that the sign on the container had a pun about how a period should end a sentence, not an education. Raise your hand if you’ve ever improvised a temporary period solution (i.e. a wad of toilet paper) or just dealt with some free bleeding until you figured something else out. Maybe, while using your improvised solution, you had to walk around campus, go to a professor’s office hours or get up in front of the class for a presentation, and you told yourself that everyone would totally think your sweatshirt was tied around your waist because you were trying to bring that look back.
I tend to worry that I am alone in my past and present period insecurities. If I am, at least the smart women at the University of Akron have my back. For this reason, these bathrooms get a 5/5. Bravo!
Emily Dressler has been writing about bathrooms for The Devil Strip since 2015.