By Matthew Kaufman
Emily Delmonaco came back from winter break and decided to take a quick nap in her New Residence Hall dorm room before class. When she woke up, she found an unpleasant surprise under her pillow.
Mouse droppings and urine.
“I was so disgusted and didn’t know what to do,” said Delmonaco, a sophomore elementary education and sociology major. “My roommate and I ended up sleeping at our friends’ places for the night while we figured things out.”
It seems that more than just students have moved into the College’s residence halls this semester, as mice have been reported in several dorms across campus, forcing several students to move rooms or buildings after just a week on campus.
Students living in New Residence, Eickhoff, Cromwell and Wolfe halls, along with Townhouses East, have all reported sightings or evidence of rodents in their rooms or common areas, according to Luke Sacks, the College’s head of media relations. Five rooms in New Residence Hall were affected by mice, with nine students requesting to be moved to other residence halls.
Community Advisors in these buildings have been advising their residents to avoid leaving food out and to place towels on the floor to prevent mice from slipping under doors.
But Annabelle Mason, a resident of Eickhoff Hall, said that she has taken numerous precautions and has still encountered mice. Her room is next to the trash room on her floor, and Mason said that Facilities workers have installed a door draft stopper to block the area underneath the door and have come in multiple times to seal around the air vent.
“We’ve put down four traps and [the mouse] keeps eating the bait off of it and not actually getting trapped,” said Mason, a sophomore secondary education and history major.
Mason said that she caught eight mice in her room last semester. Facilities provided her with glue traps, but she elected to install lethal traps because she did not want to see the mouse struggle.
Sacks said that the administration has been actively working with an exterminator to resolve the issue. “Facilities continue to work with our exterminator to do walkthroughs and inspections to find and correct any building issues that could allow the mice to enter any building,” Sacks said in an email. “The exterminator deploys an aggressive program of trapping and removing mice from all buildings.”
The rodent issue has unsettled students across the affected residence halls, even those who have not personally witnessed one of the critters. Haylee Schmick, another resident of New Residence Hall, said that she and her roommate have also had to take inconvenient precautions, such as buying and installing a door draft blocker, along with placing all snacks in bins above their wardrobes.
“I pay thousands of dollars to go here and dorm and can’t even live without fearing rodents are going to eat all of my stuff,” said Schmick, a sophomore elementary education major.
Sacks said that any student who sees evidence of mice in their room should submit a facilities ticket and continue to take precautions. “We also encourage the entire campus community to clean up thoroughly when preparing food in kitchens, to promptly dispose of food waste and not to leave food out,” Sacks said.
Delmonaco and her roommate have decided to extend their stay in Eickhoff, hoping to avoid any future encounters with the tiny residents. They were unaware that mice had already made themselves at home in their new building as well.
“We were given the chance to live in Eick temporarily for a week and had time to decide if we would like to stay,” Delmonaco said. “After more mice were spotted in New Res, my roommate and I decided to continue living in Eick until the end of the semester.”