Biology and mass communications’ students are putting together an event on Thursday, Oct. 15 to recognize Global Handwashing Day, emphasizing the importance of washing your hands.
“When you’re washing your hands with soap, the bacteria tend to stick to the grease in the oils on your hands and the oil acts as a mediator,” said Julia Schmitz, associate professor of biology. “At the same time you’re rinsing off the oil, you’re also rinsing off the germs that are connected to the oil and the grease on your hands.”
Global Handwashing Day is held every year on Oct. 15. This is the first time that Piedmont College is participating in an event like Global Handwashing Day, COVID-19 being a major factor in the participation.
“Handwashing is always important, but in the wake of the pandemic, it is even more critical to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Joe Dennis, assistant professor of mass communications. “I think people know of its importance. My hope is that our project can help educate people on the proper way to wash their hands. Simply splashing some water on your hands is not enough.”
Students in Dennis’ media writing II class and Schmitz’s microbiology class will be holding a handwashing experiment in the Commons during the lunch period. Participants will wear vinyl gloves and simulate washing their hands with ink. After 20 seconds, participants will be able to see what areas of the hand they missed.
“I think it will be interesting to see students simulate washing their hands with the ink and gloves to discover all the places they miss,” Dennis said. “I’m hoping that students can gain awareness of not only the importance of washing their hands, but how to properly do it.”
Additionally, a TikTok video competition will be held in which students can submit their most informative and entertaining 20-second videos regarding handwashing. The Department of Student Life and Leadership is contributing Wal-Mart gift cards as prizes for the winners.
The collaboration between the two classes will allow microbiology students to put into practice what they already learned in experiments, and for media writing students to practice their promotional skills with a real event.
For participants, Schmitz said the ultimate goal for the day is for students to learn to wash their hands — properly and frequently. “You should wash your hands constantly. If you can’t wash your hands constantly, you especially want to wash your hands before handling food or before eating,” she said. “Especially if you are going to be eating any food with your hands.”