The sounds of running feet and clanging metal fill the air at Texas A&M University’s newest student recreation center. Throughout the day, students seeking a fitness break steadily stream in and out of the building.

The Southside Rec Center is the third fitness building to open on the campus in College Station, Texas, and the 70,000-square-foot facility has seen plenty of demand since opening its doors. Located near 10 student dormitories, the rec center sees an average of 5,000 to 6,000 visits per day.

A&M announced plans for the new facility in November 2020. When construction was underway, Rick Hall, then-director of rec sports, was concerned about protecting the health of students while working out indoors.

For such a high-traffic, high-touch environment, Hall knew encouraging hand sanitizer use would be an effective approach. At the other rec centers, they had tried placing numerous pump bottles on desks, but he sought a more effective strategy.


When Hall came across Vaask, he saw an opportunity to incorporate permanent hand sanitizing fixtures into the building’s design. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Six units were strategically placed where there is a lot of foot traffic, such as near the entrance and outside of the locker rooms and activity spaces. 

Hall noticed how this placement resulted in an increased use of sanitizer. 

“Students just walk by, put their hand in and—boom—they walk away with clean hands after barely breaking their stride,” he said. 

The LED lights attract attention to the units and increase use, Hall said. 

“Students see the lights and it draws them in, reminding them to clean their hands,” he said. 

The ease of maintenance has been a hit with the custodial staff. They appreciate how the 2-liter tank has a wide cap for quick refilling from gallon-size jugs of sanitizer gel. The fixtures also save maintenance staff time by lasting longer between refills and having no batteries to replace. 

A quick wipe with hot water and a microfiber cloth is all that is needed to keep the units clean. There’s no problem with drips and spills because the retractable pump and catch tray keep sanitizer off the floor. 

The black recessed units are embellished with the A&M rec center logo in white, giving them a sleek, classy look. Hall has enjoyed showing them off to visitors from outside the school. 

“Everyone is impressed with their streamlined look,” he said. “They’re a great conversation piece.”

“Regardless of the status of flu season and COVID, I think hand sanitizers are here to stay,” Hall said. Being able to support the health and well-being of students with Vaask fits right in with the core values of the school.

Click here to see Vaask in action.