The Tomato

Photo: CC, Jean Gagnon. Edits: Rame Abdulkader.

Traditional window cleaning is for the birds

A recent breakdown of the University of Ottawa’s 2018-19 budget has raised eyebrows over projected spending on cleaning supplies. According to a detailed analysis, these expenditures have proven to be primarily Windex-related, causing concern from many student groups.

“How can they possibly use that much Windex?” exclaimed Jo Stephenson, a third-year engineering student, to the Tomato. “The whole campus is like 90 per cent concrete, anyway.”

The mystery was solved early Tuesday morning, when a crew of custodians was spotted flanking the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) building, Windex in hand.

“Yep — every week, we polish the whole thing, from top to bottom,” nodded Alan Lee, head of the Social Science Task Force (SSTF). “Keeps it looking spiffy for when the O-Train gets here.”

The SSTF operates on a very precise schedule, dousing the FSS building in Windex on a regular basis. At the present rate of cleaning, approximately 400 litres of the glass-cleaner are used each month. This high volume is due to the imposing, crystalline structure of FSS—it’s one of the campus’s most densely-windowed buildings.

The unearthly amount of glass boasted by FSS is only a part of its sustainability-oriented construction. The building also features a living wall and an innovative heating system, however, to some students it is unclear as to whether the building is actually helping the environment:

“Every lecture that I have in FSS, I always hear the ‘smack’ of birds that fly right into the side of the building—but who can blame them? It’s all windows!” recounted Helena Stevens, a first-year student, in a recent interview with the Tomato.

Indeed, student complaints about dazed seagulls staggering through their study groups at the base of FSS have become more and more numerous over the past several years.

These incidents have greatly increased the workload of the SSTF, and they have been working around the clock to eliminate the bird-prints from FSS’s gleaming surfaces. In the words of one employee, “There’s gonna be a worldwide Windex shortage if we keep this up!”

In that vein, interested students should present themselves to the Work-Study information office, to learn more about a flurry of hirings for the position of “Windex Warrior” with the SSTF; candidates with significant Windexpertise will be given first consideration for the job.