Graduate Students

Survey Finds Cleanliness Is Key for Student Concentration

June 23, 2008

Findings of a new nationwide survey show a connection between cleaner college facilities and academic achievement, according to the survey’s sponsors, with 88 percent of students saying they are distracted from learning in even casually or moderately messy environments. In addition, 84 percent of students surveyed said good learning environments should be spotless or very tidy.

Not surprisingly, the poll of 1,481 students was conducted by the Association of Physical Plant Administrators, whose members are educational-facilities managers, and the International Sanitary Supply Association, an organization of cleaning-product companies.

And the real message of the survey results may have as much to do with maintaining the size of janitorial staffs as it does with cleanliness.

“In this day and age, when services are cut in order to save dollars, this study shows that cutting cleaning services could have a detrimental impact on our primary customers, the students,” said Alan Bigger, president of the physical-plant managers’ association, in a news release describing the study results.

John Garfinkel, executive director of the cleaning-industry association, added: “These findings provide a vital tool for facility-service providers to reinforce the benefits of cleaning; there’s also a great deal of public-relations power in that message if an institution can use its cleaning program to inform students and their families what it is doing to protect the well-being of its population.” —Eric Kelderman