Author: John Budnik

October 11, 2013 John Budnik

A job interview doesn’t require a top hat, but the clothes a potential employee wears might be the difference between being hired or not. There is an office on campus helping informal students because it’s true that employers prefer a sharp-dressed candidate.

University of Alaska Anchorage’s Career Services Center, located in Rasmuson Hall, has a small room called the “Professional Clothes Closet.” It’s a wardrobe full of clothing available to any student or alumni in need of new duds to woo possible employers.

November 1, 2011 John Budnik

Winter camping and telemark skiing are among the new courses set for the 2012 spring semester at the Kachemak Bay Campus (KBC), located in Homer. This will be the first year that KBC will be offering outdoor classes, though attempts have been made in the past.

“This is a pilot program,” said Carol Swartz, campus director of KBC.  “There aren’t that many opportunities here at UAA to take these classes.”

Swartz believes it is up to students to show interest in order to expand the program.  She also said she has received help from faculty at UAA’s main campus in Anchorage to get the program going at KBC.

Students who enroll in telemark skiing will be taking two field trips to Ohlson Mountain near Homer and Anchorage’s Hilltop ski area. Winter camping will also travel to Ohlson Mountain for an overnight camping trip. Both outdoor classes will be taught by Adjunct Professor Libby Bushell.

Bushell is the executive director and lead instructor for the Homer Wilderness Leaders and has international outdoor experience.

“She’s climbed mountains all over the place like Mexico and France,” said Swartz.

Outdoor classes are not entirely about play, however.  Along with being outdoors, both classes at KBC will spend time in the classroom learning about safety and risk management.

According to Swartz, KBC will follow closely in the steps of the classes taught out of the main campus of UAA.  For most beginning outdoor classes, safety is an important highlight in the curriculum.

“We’re focused on getting people comfortable with the outdoors and safety,” said T.J. Miller, an assistant professor at UAA who teaches outdoor education.

One goal of the program is for students to become “a competent second to a skilled leader.” According to Miller, that goal entails shaping foundational safety skills and developing good decision-making.

For outdoor classes at UAA, most equipment is provided except for the personal clothing appropriate for the class. Students have to provide their own food for winter camping through KBC, but sleeping bags and tents will be rented from UAA’s Outdoor Leadership department. However, students at KBC take telemark skiing will have to provide their own skis.

Outdoor Leadership is a minor students can complete at UAA. Other classes that are part of the minor include backpacking, canoeing, river rafting, sea kayaking, rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing, crevasse rescue, water safety and an assortment of leadership courses.

Outdoor education is an interest spreading to other campuses like KBC and, according to Miller, each outdoor class he has taught has had full enrollment. Outdoor students come from various backgrounds in skill level and outdoor experience.

“We’re really a part of this,” said Swartz.  “We’re able to do this with collaboration with UAA’s Outdoor and Recreational departments and T.J. Miller.”

Miller’s reason for getting interested in this particular field might also inspire students to do the same.

“[I’m] never working a day in my life,” said Miller.

April 19, 2011 John Budnik

It is certainly that time of the year again with the snow melting and finals at a rapid approach for all of us.  Trying to balance the time of studying and the desire to go outside and bask in the sun is like taking on a second job.  Soon enough though we’ll all get through it safe and sound, but of course, not without a few restroom breaks.

This being the final Latrine Dean article for the semester I figure that I would wrap the series up with the sentiment of legitimacy that may have gotten lost as we read about aesthetic, privacy and toilet paper appeal.

I didn’t realize back in November what an endeavor the Latrine Dean would turn out to be.  More importantly, though, it was a learning experience and an eye opener.

Through the course of critiquing the restrooms that I did, it had dawned on me that we are in a luxurious position to even have a restroom critic.  There are many places in this world, including in our very own state, that don’t have the luxury of plumbing and running water to facilitate public restrooms or even a bathroom in the household.

I am sure that there are numerous socio-political factors playing into the quality, or lack thereof, of our restrooms on the world scale, far too much to get into here, but there are people out there doing something about it.

The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is an organization that a reader of mine enlightened me with.

Founded in 2001, the WTO is a global non-profit organization “committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide.”  My personal favorite attribute they claim to have is to “eliminating the toilet taboo,” which is probably where the Latrine Dean articles serve a purpose on our main campus.  You can read all about them on their website, www.worldtoilet.org.

What the WTO helps me realize is that having to dispose of our human waste goes beyond the simple ten minute break between classes and a flush.  It is about the medium that we do so.  If sanitation conditions are subpar or equipment is used and outdated we expose ourselves to the risk of illness.

For the restrooms that the Latrine Dean critiqued, I doubt that somebody getting ill would be a scenario as four out of five of them scored three stars or more.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t have anything to worry about, however.

It is absolutely up to YOU to take care of our restrooms.  If not for yourself, think about for the sake of the next person that has to use the restroom.

Simple aesthetics qualms that I ran into are easily avoidable.  The next time you have an urge to draw a phallus on the stall wall, just think to yourself that it really isn’t all that funny and it damages the restroom that you, as a tuition paying student, will have to repay and fix.

Some sanitation issues may be out of the patron’s control.  If you recall the critique of the Administrative Building’s atrium restroom there was mold found on the stall wall separating the urinals.  I wouldn’t expect any patron to clean that mold between their classes, but that is an issue the University needs to take upon with their maintenance crew.

But simple sanitation issues can be reconciled on the patron’s behalf.  If you drop a paper towel, pick it up.  If a little water or soap splashes onto the counter while washing your hands, wipe it up.  If you come across dysfunctional hardware, such as an overflowing or clogged toilet, tell somebody about it so it can be fixed as soon as possible.

Needless to say, restrooms are serious business when it comes to sanitation concerns.

Steve Lindamood, a professionally trained chef and someone who has worked in the culinary arts profession for numerous years, uses a good rule of thumb when determining the quality of a restaurant.

“If you want to know how clean the kitchen is take a look at their restrooms.  If they can’t keep the restrooms clean than they can’t keep the kitchen clean.”  He claims.

Think about this the next time you and your sweetheart decide to go out to dinner.  My advice would be to choose wisely.

A debt of gratitude is in order for the TNL staff for their help and publishing of the Latrine Dean that enabled me to speak my peace about the restrooms here on main campus.  A huge thank you goes to the wonderful Correspondent Kellie.  She was a real asset in keeping the Latrine Dean focused and unbiased to only one side of the restroom.  My final thoughts for you as we enter the crunch time of the semester:

If you have to, flush twice.

April 12, 2011 John Budnik

With a mixture of departments, ranging from Psychology to IT Services, the Social Science Building tends to facilitate just that, being social.  While in the SSB you will find yourself at a juncture of many options to choose from.  There are options such as to study in the library down the hall, grab a latte from the Starbucks downstairs, or simply go to class in the SSB.  However, using the SSB restroom on the second-floor, immediately to your left from the stairs, should be the option at the top of your list.

I don’t believe in the concept of perfection, but this restroom makes a strong case for it.

Aesthetically, this restroom is a dream.  From the sensor on the hardware to the warm beige marble-like tiles that hug the room any complaints are hard to come by.  This restroom’s attributes give off the feeling of true quality when you them in for the first time.

The space alone in this restroom encourages you to indulge in taking your time.  However, though it may encourage a lengthy visit, it also encourages other visitors, and the foot traffic may cut some of the desire for a stay.

The bathroom stall walls have a type of diamond-imprinted design, with the aesthetic appeal of stainless steel.  I couldn’t help but imagine being in a rich star’s bathroom in their mansion, as seen on MTV’s “Cribs.”  I figure rich star would be able to afford something ridiculous like stainless steel stall walls for their mansion’s bathrooms, but then again, maybe just stall walls in general.  I digress.

Aesthetics earn a solid, two-thumbs up and five stars.  I have not sufficient words to properly describe the appearance of this restroom. See for yourself.

Earlier, I mentioned the capacity of foot traffic in this restroom, and it is true.  This restroom is highly trafficked in between classes.  I must admit that heavy foot traffic is detrimental to the privacy rating, but in the case of this restroom it is not enough to ruin the overall pleasant experience.

Also, the stalls are sandwiched between two thick tiled walls.  If by chance you are using the end stall that uses the wall for privacy you will experience a feeling of shelter.  It would take a trebuchet for that wall to come down.

Privacy earns four stars.

“Standard UAA-issue Toilet Paper,” as Correspondent Kellie calls it, was once again the story this week for this restroom.  If we were to turn up the thermostat to increase the degrees of softness in our campus’s toilet paper we would probably see a huge difference in everyone’s studies for the better.  We wouldn’t need to turn the thermostat up to full blast, either.  I don’t like my bedroom to be a 110-degree hot yoga room, just as I don’t like my toilet paper to be cashmere.

Needless to say, I’m cold for the Standard UAA-issue, and we need to work towards finding a comfortable balance between these two extremes of rough and soft.  Toilet Paper earns its usual three stars.

“The restroom is a welcoming reprieve from the banal design of SSB,” reported Correspondent Kellie.

Kellie found the aesthetic value of its stainless steel stalls as well, but more so in its mirror.

“Mirror!  A full-length mirror!  This bathroom was highly functional due to this mirror,” she reported.

Perhaps there is a difference between the genders as to the value we place on our mirrors.  Whereas men may only need to flatten their Alfalfa hair, Correspondent Kellie makes it clear through her exuberance that it is the full ensemble that matters most.

Correspondent Kellie was also not as convinced of the privacy of this restroom, due to its high foot traffic.

“There is always someone to watch you fix your hair or adjust your layers,” she claimed.

She goes into detail about the causes of the high foot traffic by accrediting it to the convenient location as well as a lack of “other spectacles or places of interest in SSB on the second floor.”  Simply put, the SSB is un-deserving of such a fine lavatory.

The aesthetics of this restroom carry its rating all the way through.  I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that an astounding facility such as this restroom received anything less than the full score.  The privacy issue pertaining to heavy foot traffic in essence isn’t the restroom’s fault.  At this point, I don’t feel it to be fair or even necessary to include the toilet paper score into the final calculation now that a norm has been set.  On the “A.P.-titude” scale: Five Stars.

Final Score: * * * * *

March 22, 2011 John Budnik

The Consortium Library, a haven of silence and one of my favorite places to be on campus.  After walking out of the Starbucks adjacent to the Consortium with a latte in one hand and a Danish in the other, is there anything finer than finding your favorite reading nook and cracking open a text of Plato and his dialogues?  Well, maybe spring break on a Florida beach, but only maybe.

The Consortium Library’s second-floor restrooms, behind the elevators immediately to your right from the spiral staircase, may also not be spring break in Florida, but they are a fine find as well.

The second-floor restrooms are aesthetically reminiscent of the ISB restrooms.  The two have a similar lighting structure, with this restroom’s light fixtures gently tucked away above the ceiling and facing the wall.  This creates a fountain-like effect, distributing light across the room.  It is soft, but bright enough to be able to determine the condition.

During my tour, there was something about the transparent-green brick tiles that made me feel creative as I meditated for a minute and a half.  Needless to say, they were wonderful.

The silver stalls give the restroom a bit of a metropolitan feel.  They make you feel cool for spending your Saturday afternoon doing your English homework at the library, when you could easily be at the movies with your friends.

A real attention grabber is the white lines tiled into the floor.  For the men’s restroom they served as a gentle reminder of how far away to stand from the stall if occupied.  According to Correspondent Kellie, for the ladies’ room, they “guided the flow of traffic around the stalls.”

This bathroom is also enriched by its excellent countertops, sinks and mirrors, and its aesthetic quality easily bags five stars.

The library is typically a busy place mid-day during the week, but even so, privacy was not an issue.  The quiet hush that sits over the library exists in the restroom too.  Foot traffic was very minimal, which was surprising considering what a popular place the library is on campus.

The aspect of this restroom that really sealed the ultimate pinnacle of privacy was the angled wall in the men’s room.  When you walk through the door of the men’s room you are confronted with a 120 degree pivot immediately to your right to face the urinals.  The room becomes smaller as you approach the farthest urinal, which at this point is almost in a corner.

This wall is so central in securing the most amount of privacy, because when using the urinals you are guaranteed not to be bothered by any traffic flow from your right or from immediately behind you.  This lends to a pleasant and private experience for the library patron.  Privacy earns a solid five stars.

Plain and simple was the toilet paper for this restroom, just like the other bathrooms to the east.  There is not much to say about it, and at this point doubt grows even stronger for the restrooms to come of if there will ever be anything to rant and rave about concerning the toilet paper here on campus.  Toilet Paper earns three stars.

“It was very reflective of the grandeur of the Consortium Library,” reported Correspondent Kellie.  “It was a reminder that we are in a university.”

Correspondent Kellie enjoyed the green appeal and the good texture of tiling in the restroom.  However, a well-placed full length mirror would have enamored Kellie further with its fashion.  With plenty of wall space in the restroom, it’s a must.

Privacy in these restrooms was also a nonissue for Kellie. The large stainless steel lock on the stall door, coupled with how little the restroom is visited, gave her a very private feeling.

The ladies’ room toilet paper was just like the mens’ with nothing special.  The toilet paper dispenser did catch the attention of Correspondent Kellie, however.

“It was a very obliging TP dispenser.  It didn’t welcome my ‘come hither advances’ but it wasn’t disgruntled either.”  She reported.

If after a long day of classes and you find yourself heading to the library to grind out solid study time there is no need to fret if a certain call should present itself to you.  You’ll be accommodated aesthetically and with privacy, and I guarantee that you will not lose concentration from your studies.

Now should the Consortium Library throw a couple of magazine racks in there with a couple of old issues of Newsweek Magazine destined for the recycling bin anyway, I wouldn’t complain.  But with how high this restroom scored, to ask them to do so would just be greedy.

 

Overall Score: * * * * *

February 22, 2011 John Budnik

Walking into the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building a sensation of awe-inspiring architecture takes hold.  There are plenty of places to sit and study with a group or alone.  The staircase in the middle of the atrium is reminiscent of the famous M.C. Escher artwork ‘Relativity’ as the flights of stairs jag their way to the second and third floors.  But only an analogy can help comprehend the first floor restrooms in this expansive atrium.

Boldly going where not many have gone before, because of how new this building is to our campus, I certainly hope this restroom was not the final frontier but a sign of more to come.  An inspiration to seek out new life and new civilization emerges within as it resembled something comparable to a restroom on the Starship Enterprise.

It was that crisp and clean.

Upon entry into the men’s restroom every corner is illuminated by the outstanding fluorescent lighting.  The lighting itself is the foundation for the aesthetics of this restroom as nothing can be hidden in this restroom’s shadows because there are none.

When washing your hands you will notice there are fluorescent bulbs to the left and to the right of the sinks and even behind the mirrors.  This gives the impression that you are using a vanity as you perfect your own aesthetics.  The lighting just doesn’t compliment the restroom, it compliments you as well.

Another good aesthetic feature of this restroom is its use of color.  The walls are a lime green that lend a very comfortable-homely feeling.  The floor is black linoleum with white speckles that push your attention towards other aspects of this restroom.  The stall walls don a beige color and are a textured composite with no scuffs or graffiti.

The hardware in this restroom was all very new just like the building itself.  The toilet seats were very ergonomic as they bowled near the back to fit any of its occupants.  This was a very pleasant feature.

The hardware did reveal a significant corner that was cut, however.  The hardware was all manual with levers instead of sensors.  For a restroom that is this new, my expectations were high.  Manual hardware in public restrooms leads to sanitation concerns with an ease of transferring bacteria from person to person.  Hardware with sensors can limit this and even help on a sustainability front with limiting the use of water and paper towels.

Aesthetically, this restroom did well earning a solid four stars.  It could have been five, but a disappointment in the manual hardware took that fifth one away.

Privacy was not an issue with this restroom.  The stalls have plenty of elbow room and there is only a sliver of light that can penetrate through the cracks of the stall’s walls.  This gives any occupant a feeling of true solidarity.

The building itself is a little offset from the main flow of foot traffic on campus flowing East and West, or the Fine Arts building to the Professional Studies Building, so it doesn’t see a lot people.  Privacy earns five stars.

The toilet paper wasn’t anything to throw a party over, but one aspect of it that was fascinating was the dispenser it was held in, which fits in with the aesthetics.  The toilet paper is encased in a sleek-looking, stainless-steel dispenser and situated on rolls that just glide at the flick of your finger tip.  It made me wonder how they replace the toilet paper when it runs out. The dispenser gives a notion that the toilet paper is an extension of the restroom and not just an accessory.  Toilet paper earns a solid four stars.

“It was reflective of the institution,” reported Correspondent Kellie, “it was very fluid and consistent with the design.”

Correspondent Kellie reported many of the same likenesses as that of the Men’s restrooms that were also found in the Women’s restroom.  There seemed to be little difference between the two restrooms aesthetically, privately and with the toilet paper.

One aspect she mentioned that really gave a new and exciting vibe to the Women’s restroom was the situation of the stalls.  Stalls were situated along opposite sides of each other with the handicap stall sandwiched between two regular sized stalls.  This, she claimed, helped with a sense of privacy because people washing their hands were not in front of any of the stall doors.

This restroom has a lot going for it and it is incumbent upon faculty staff and students to do our best to respect this restroom for its upkeep.  Even though Captain Picard probably has sensors in his restroom on board the Enterprise, he wouldn’t hesitate from having to use this restroom if Starfleet asked him to teach a class here at UAA.  If you’re in the area, “Make it so.”

Overall Score:

February 8, 2011 John Budnik

The word ‘Administration’ makes me think of this building as the heart of campus.  No longer where our administration works, the building itself lends a hand in the shaping of our university’s history as being the place our noble administrative personnel worked feverishly helping us all obtain a higher-education at one time. The building is…

January 25, 2011 John Budnik

Mozart.  Michelangelo.  Van Gogh.  Stravinsky. Picasso. Their art and influence bleed into the hallways of the Fine Arts Building here on main campus.  Unfortunately for their scholars, it doesn’t into the restroom they use. Walk into the men’s restroom on the 1st floor of the Fine Arts Building backed against the east wall of the…