Walking up the stairs, there's a broken beer bottle, cigarette butts and the foil from a once-delicious Chipotle burrito.
You walk past the shrapnel of a rowdy evening and into the solace of your apartment. But when you live in an independent housing complex, how do those messes get cleaned up? And when?
Plaza on University is the UCF area's newest housing community, having opened this fall semester. Despite completion of construction, however, some students are still having some management issues, namely with the messes students are leaving in the hallway, stairs and elevators — and how expediently those messes are cleaned up.
In response to their issues, some Plaza residents have taken to Facebook to make their frustrations known.
Miranda Rioux, a freshman fine arts major, recently posted a handful of photos of various messes she found at the Plaza, including cigarette butts and beer cans left lying out.
"Unfortunately, it was quite a problem up until a week ago," Rioux said. "After a few people had posted to the Facebook group, I assume that management saw our post because the day after I posted my pictures, the trash was removed. I was very happy that they at least responded; however I know other hallways have had even worse trash issues. In my situation they handled it well, but there has been cases where trash was left in the stairwells for almost a week."
Rioux is not the only one who has seen trash left out, though only for a few days instead of a week.
"I've just noticed that there's trash in the halls, and it's there for a couple of days, but it'll get cleaned up," said Tanya Trzaska, a junior communication sciences and disorders major. "Other than that, messes are taken care of on a regular basis."
As with everything, however, there is always room for improvement.
"I think Plaza could better monitor the trash left around the apartment and make sure it's taken care of," Trzaska said.
Despite numerous phone calls to on-site and corporate offices, no one at the Plaza on University could comment on how the trash situation is handled.
Other off-campus communities may not be facing the same issues, however.
Chris Kosior, a junior political science major and Sterling Central resident, said that as a whole, the apartment community does a good job of cleaning up trash and there is not necessarily anything that employees could be doing any better.
But Sterling isn't without its occasional mess, Kosior added.
"Maybe on the weekends [there's a mess]. By the pool there are a lot of empty beer bottles," Kosior added. "I do know some hallways can be awful, but luckily mine isn't."
Sterling Central could also not be reached for comment in regard to how trash is handled within the complex.
At other major housing complexes, such as University House and the UCF-affiliated Knights Circle, officials were able to talk about what goes into keeping their communities clean.
At both of these complexes, messes left out or unattended to can rack up charges for those responsible, meaning a $25 fine at University House and a reimbursement of the cleanup charges at Knights Circle.
At Knights Circle, the breezeways are inspected either daily or weekly through various means, and both maintenance staff and trash valets make rounds daily.
"Given the amount of security, RAs and on-site staff present at Knights Circle, it's exceedingly rare that we have large incidents where gatherings go unchecked at a pool or other area that could result in a large scale mess," said Rob Myers, general manager for Knights Circle. "We don't rent our facilities to large groups, which helps prevent such an issue as well. If we host a resident event, we plan for the cleanup of the event as a part of it."
Over at University House, maintenance staff is on site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to handle any issues, and part of that job is cleaning up messes and if possible, finding out who is responsible so the aforementioned charges may be applied.
"We do our diligence to clean it up and we would notify the tenants in that area to try do what they can to prevent it from happening," said Michael Lacombe, assistant community manager at University House. "It's not to charge the resident and make money. It's to encourage them not to do that again."
University House also has grounds keepers of sorts who patrol the buildings first thing upon arrival to make sure there are no messes that appeared overnight.