Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 1, 2017


Left to right, back row: Alex Figueroa, Andy Giles. Left to right, front row: Kelly Hippensteel, Kelsey Ropp, Anthea Ayebaze, Katie Brown and Anna Richison

Toilet Talk Stimulates Health Awareness

Lexy Underhill

It’s a well-known fact that bathrooms make excellent reading rooms. And Toilet Talk, Manchester’s bathroom-stall newsletter, offers visitors an informative toilet “paper.”

Produced by Health and Counseling Services, Toilet Talk focuses on various topics related to college students and faculty. It is distributed to bathrooms in residential halls and academic buildings to promote health awareness. A new issue of Toilet Talk is posted two times a month so visitors can leave the bathroom a little wiser.

Toilet Talk newsletters date back to 2006. “They were here way before I arrived,” said Kelly Hippensteel, the Health Service Counselor. “Toilet Talk started with one of the first nurses here at Manchester: Tara Vogel. She went to a conference where they had similar ideas and wanted to implement them here at Manchester to spread awareness.”

Toilet Talks (as they are affectionately known) are a way to get information without having to try too hard. The newsletters include a wide variety helpful tips like what to do when you get sick, or remind people of important upcoming dates. “I like the Toilet Talks because they always have information on events going on around campus,” said first-year Alex Whittig. “I usually do not know about the events until I see them in the bathrooms.”

Anna Richison, RN with Health and Counseling Services says that's deliberate. “We try and pick information that has to do with specific months," she said. "For example, if it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we put tips in Toilet Talk about what to do and how to get checked out. We try and pick information that has to do with early awareness. That way we can reach everybody, because everybody has to go to the bathroom.”

Toilet Talks do have a process before they can hit the stalls. “The Health and Counseling student assistants are the ones that come up with all the ideas for Toilet Talks," Richison said. “We have five student assistant and each student is assigned to one. They bring me a copy of the Toilet Talk to make sure everything is approved, and then they are ready for reading.”

Toilet Talk has gotten much recognition for its content. “Toilet Talks are so popular that when we miss a stall we end up getting a call about it," Richison said. “The College of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne has actually taken an interest to them too. From now on Toilet Talks will be seen on the Fort Wayne campus too, which is very exciting.”

The students around campus have all had the same outlook about Toilet Talk. “Toilet Talks really do help with keeping positive," said first-year Shemar Clarke. "They talk about how to stay responsible with drinking: what to do, what not to do. They also have really important dates that I would have never known about.”

Toilet Talk newsletters appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.