A recent outbreak of mold in the apartments has left many students feeling ill.
Contrary to a previously published report in The SpringHillian student newspaper, results of testing commissioned by the college found that the mold in some on-campus apartments is a household version of mold and not the commonly known "black mold," said Ashley Rains, assistant director of media relations for the college.
Some students have claimed to have had reactions to the mold, a claim that isn't disputed.
Senior Maggie Nelson recalls it being an issue when she moved into her apartment in August. “Every morning I was waking up congested and I couldn’t breathe. I started to just assume it was normal until I started to get painful blisters in my nose.” It was not until her mother, Kelly Nelson, came to town for parents weekend that any action was taken. “As a parent, it is concerning knowing that my child is having to deal with this. I was there for only two hours during family weekend and I was sneezing and had itchy eyes the entire time." According to Kelly Nelson, she contacted Dr. Christopher Puto’s office to express her concerns, and shortly after, she received a call from Residence Life. The next day, maintenance arrived at Nelson’s apartment to scrape the mold off the ceiling in the living room. The quality of the air was also checked; however, the results from this test are not available yet.
Nelson said that before her mother came in town for family weekend, maintenance had not responded to any of their work orders regarding the mold. “It is frustrating for me because I’m an adult and I should be the one to handle this, not my parents who live 15 hours away. Maintenance has come to fix the smaller things when we put in a work order, but it took them so long from when we initially contacted them to remove the mold from our ceiling,” said Nelson.
Rubin 101 is not the only apartment suffering from this mold outbreak. Langan 111 has also encountered this issue and just recently had their entire apartment bleached. Langan 111 resident Joelle Lorenzo said that when she moved in, mold was already present. “That should not have been an issue, in the real world, you would not move into an apartment with mold in it," said Lorenzo. “Cosmetically, the apartment looks good, however, we have been inhaling bleach for the past two days. It looks better, but I don’t know if the problem was actually fixed.”
An unofficial poll has shown that 12 residents of the Fairways have reported that they have either been affected or have noticed mold in their apartment. Joy Morris, director of Residence Life, sent the following statement: “Mold is inevitable when we live in such a warm, humid environment. Warm, damp and humid areas are where mold spores are found most active.” “We have had our share of hot days and rain in the last few months and have worked proactively to stop any issues from arising. Facilities are in the midst of installing humidistats in each of the Fairway apartments.” A humidistat is a device used to help monitor and maintain the humidity in the air, as well as manage the moisture level in a living area.
According to Morris, Rubin 101 reported the mold issue less than a week ago to Residence Life. There was a team sent out immediately to disinfect the area of concern. In regard to the air being tested, Morris said that they do not anticipate the results to show any type of toxicity.
The Residence Life and Facilities team encourage students to utilize the SchoolDude work order system to report any issues or concerns before they escalate. Students can help be proactive by removing open food containers, minimizing damp/wet clothes and keeping a clean-living space.