PSAI Scholarship Recipients Reflect on the Image of Portable Sanitation
Since 1997, PSAI has been awarding scholarships to help industry employees and their families pursue higher education. And since 1997, scholarship recipients have been reflecting on topical industry matters. This year, our recipients reflected on elevating the image of portable sanitation as a respected, necessary service in the minds of the public. Their responses came from many perspectives: from sanitation in post-pandemic times, to a vital service to support humanitarian aid. Keep reading to see what these students have to say.
Austin Amelse, Arizona State University:
Proper hygiene and sanitation came into focus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with new hypersensitivity and public judgement surrounding hygienic practices or lack thereof. The CDC raised public health awareness and sanitation's importance which opened the door for the portable sanitation industry to capitalize and elevate its image as a necessary, respected public service by providing greater access to sanitary products.
To leverage this momentum and further elevate the industry image, focus on consumer channels and engaging content. Reach people where they are, on their phones and on the internet and social networking platforms they spend time on, for greater visibility. Post engaging ads and videos on popular platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok to gain recognition by an untapped audience. Partner with influencers, health organizations, and local businesses with shared public health messaging about the positive impact sanitation has on their quality of life and the environment.
Aiden McMahon, University of New Hampshire:
My mom has been in the industry for 10 years, over the years we would say she 'sold toilets'; over the years, I've learned she does much more than sell toilets. Portable sanitation supplies the homeless with services which provide them with dignity as well as support to cities and towns trying to control a humanitarian concern. Without portable sanitation, refugee camps would be a hardship to the government, forcing them to install permanent facilities for a temporary need. My mom provided portable sanitation through the pandemic to cities, towns, and job sites to keep agencies running and people employed. Portable sanitation provides events the relief needed during long runs and rides. There is no stigma in our household. My mother and stepfather both work in the field; I've seen the solutions they have provided for thousands of people.
James Morton, North Carolina State University:
A unique occasion for the portable sanitation industry to elevate its image as a respected, necessary service became evident during COVID. Operators across the world were presented with opportunities for people to have positive interactions with portable sanitation in ways the industry had never experienced. Hand-washing stations and portable restrooms became a necessity for the public. This became evident as the media showcased the COVID testing and vaccination sites. The public increasingly had positive daily interactions with the industry of portable sanitation. The industry’s image lies in the hands of the local operators who must consistently deliver at the highest level for the public to continue to have sanitary experiences. If this can be accomplished, they will diminish the antiquated stigmas. Possibly the best way to ensure elevating the industry’s image is to establish a service standard. This would hold each provider accountable for providing a consistent level of service.
Mendota Castonguay, University of Minnesota–Duluth:
My time while working with my dad at Paul’s Portables has given me firsthand experience with the service as a whole. I have noticed my dad constantly gets new units, keeps them clean, and repairs them right away for public “awe.” Words from my dad, as he says “wedding-ready, and family-tested that the public will respect. You don’t want the portable restroom to be the reason people leave an event.” The image of portable sanitation during natural disasters will be improved if they are delivered in a timely manner before health hazards occur. Using proper and professional terminology has shown the public that I respect it, and that they can also respect it. That helps to improve the image of portable restrooms.
Ryan Root, Western Washington University:
Portable sanitation as a whole is an extremely important part of our day-to-day lives. Portable sanitation provides us with services such as toilets, sinks and hand-washing stations, baby-changing stations, showers and even more luxury options in the forms such as bathroom trailers. Each of these fill a specific and important niche important to functions of daily life in communities all around the world. Portable sanitation truly provides a backbone for various necessary industries such as construction sites, hospitals, municipalities, and schools. Portable sanitation equipment provides essential sanitary services to the employees of these jobs that are important to a functioning society. Now more than ever, the importance of portable sanitation is being shown through its deployment to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. The true importance and value of portable sanitation is recognized and seen by majority of the public through its countless uses and vital implementations.
Learn more about the PSAI Scholarship program here.