Swat Clean Hands seeks to build a healthier campus

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

With the ominous sniffle or muffled cough ringing in the winter season, the inauguration of Swat Clean Hands arrives at the perfect time. Swat Clean Hands is an organization headed by co-Presidents Michael Stone ’07 and Stephanie Koskowich ’07 that aims to make Swarthmore students healthier and keep them that way through measures such as accessible hand sanitizer.

The idea of Swat Clean Hands first started when Stone noticed that students were getting sick from easily preventable infections. Stone believes in the Swat Clean Hands philosophy that “as a community, we should take more reasonable precautions to keep ourselves and one another healthy” and sought to remedy the problem. After gaining support from faculty, Stone teamed up with Koskowich in order to bring health information and sanitation reforms to the Swarthmore campus.

The club, which is intended for “anyone and everyone interested in public health or with relevant responsibilities or skills,” had its first meeting Tuesday, Oct. 31. At the meeting, which attracted a number of students, Swat Clean Hands outlined its goals as an organization.

“Our immediate project is to improve Swatties’ hand hygiene by making alcohol based hand sanitizer widely available on campus and by doing the advertising and education required to explain its purpose and effects,” says Stone.

Stone said that long-term goals will focus more on improving communication between the students and the administration about public healthy issues. These issues might range from “pandemic preparedness and infection tracking” to “RA training and continuing hand-hygiene education” and smaller day-to-day issues like bathroom supplies and advertising space for public health information.”

Above all, Swat Clean Hands’ main objective is to “build a vibrant community interested in public health issues who look at the world around them with open eyes.” As Stone explains, “I only stumbled onto this project by being lucky and by being sensitive to the world around me. More lucky sensitive people will, we think, lead to a happier, healthier community and world.”

Currently, Stone and Koskowich are the only officers of the club but they plan to delegate more positions as the organization matures. Individual members of the club have already taken on certain tasks and projects of the organization.

The next official meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 9:30 p.m. in Kohlberg 115. Although Swat Clean Hands only meets weekly, its members always remain alert to Swarthmore students’ health needs.

“We’re perfectly happy to be stopped in Sharples, approached in McCabe, or emailed with interesting ideas, comments, concerns, and gripes,” Stone says.

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