Portable Handwashing Stations Allow Students to Lather Up Before Class

Fresh off her morning shift at her part-time job on UCF’s main campus, health sciences senior Danielle Tellier was walking to her car when a voice called out, “Would you like to wash your hands?”

Tellier stopped at the portable sinks stationed alongside the Reflecting Pond and took advantage of the opportunity to freshen up.

“I think this is an interesting idea,” Tellier says of the touch-free sinks, a new initiative offered by UCF Wellness and Health Promotion Services. “I like it especially because this area is usually a spot with a lot of activity — people listening to music or student organizations tabling out here — so it’s a great way to keep us protected.”

UCF Wellness and Health Promotion Services promotes healthy lifestyle habits associated with higher academic performance by providing outreach and educational workshops. Their wide array of services includes free HIV testing, cooking demonstrations, healthy recipes, tutorials on mindfulness, couponing and wellness coaching.

The department’s latest outreach measure is bringing TidoHome's portable sinks to UCF, which will give students another option to sanitize their hands before attending classes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

“The hope is this will help reduce anxiety around our current situation,” says director Maureen Hawkins. “WHPS wants to reduce as many barriers to self-care as we can. We want people to be as prepared as possible and continue the behavior of handwashing, especially through flu season.”

portable hand washing station with foot pump

The portable sinks, popular at music festivals and foot races, are touch-free and are stationed near a tent staffed by WHPS personnel to help guide users. Water flows by activating a foot pump — used water drains into a separate container and is disposed of while clean water is added to a different container by staff throughout the day. The soap dispenser and paper towels are automated.

The stations will be available daily around the main and downtown campuses in high foot-traffic areas for the first two weeks of the new school year, and WHPS plans to offer the service frequently throughout the fall semester.

“I think it’s important to take steps like washing our hands and wearing face masks,” Tellier says. “This is not only about protecting you, but also protecting those who may not be able to protect themselves. We all need to work together so we can get through and eventually overcome this pandemic.”

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