Campus

Flushed Away

30 March 2017

Claire Miller

Charlotte Bird-Weber

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Whether you’re a freshly minted first year or in the depths of a PhD, the University of Melbourne’s toilets are spaces where students are able to release their tears, as well as their bowels. The assortment of toilets at the University’s various campuses ensure that wherever you are, the comfort of a cubicle is never far away.

Union House, Basement, Parkville

If you’re looking to cry incognito, the continuous drone of the student body and the constant gurgling of flushing toilets in the basement of Union House provide anonymity. Furthermore, Kendall Jenner recently asserted that Baker Miller pink – not unlike the shocking shade of pink in the toilets designated for women – is the only colour scientifically proven to calm you. However, the reinforcement of the gender binary through the aforementioned pink walls, in contrast to the soothing blue in the toilets assigned to men, may add to your sorrows.

Arts West, Ground Level, Parkville

Arts West and your inner self may not be so far apart. The building has a smooth exterior and the University views its latest property development as having great promise. However, once you’re inside, the exposed parts and strange textures overwhelm you. An architecture student once told you they weren’t sure it was structurally sound and because of this, you’re reluctant to ever visit the basement. Despite all the confusion, one can find solace in the austere toilets. The barren white walls allow for an undistracted sob session.

Eastern Resource Centre, Ground Level, Parkville

After hours of skimming through databases, practice exams and memes, these unisex toilets can act as an escape pod. Patrons are instructed by an A4 to press a large cream button. Then with one satisfying push, the door swiftly glides open. The toilets themselves are narrow spaces that either feel incredibly comforting or extremely claustrophobic. Due to the foot traffic in the building – particularly during SWOTVAC – a short, economical cry is recommended.

HUB Building, Southbank Campus

Before entering these spacious toilets you’re confronted with a mirror wall which beams ‘SEE YOURSELF HERE’. Following these directions could lead to a viewing of the reflection of your upset/anxious/tired self. Upon staring at this vulnerable image of yourself, the inspiration to make art may hit you, or maybe just the urge to reach the bathroom a little quicker. Concerning the conditions of said toilets, a VCA student noted their consistent dampness: “They always seem to have puddles, but they’re still the most frequently cleaned toilets at VCA.”

Baldwin Spencer, First Floor, Parkville

Behind a set of unassuming grey doors lie some of the most peaceful toilets on campus. Featuring a low, green-tiled table and two chairs, this spacious toilet area is filled with natural light. The serene aura of these toilets may lead you from crying to a mindfulness session. It even has a scarily efficient hand dryer which will not only dry your hands but also your eyes.

Redmond Barry, Levels 9 & 10, Parkville

If you’re looking for a mournful stair climb or an angsty elevator ride then these toilets may be for you! If the endorphins haven’t kicked in from pulling yourself up the stairs, then the aggressively yellow doors of the bathrooms assigned to women will be sure to brighten your day. These toilets can also offer some perspective on your troubles by affording you a scant view of the campus from above. Though the windows are mostly shut, it’s rewarding to watch tiny figures playing tennis or rushing to their lectures before you take the elevator back down.