Mold Prevention & Reporting

The changing nature of our region’s climate over the past several years had led to the potential for a recurring condition – the development of mold. To prevent misinformation from circulating regarding the College’s response to mold within the Residence Halls, here you will find an update on the current state of our campus residence halls, information on how the College deals with this challenge, and details on what students should be prepared to do.

The current state

Mold is a naturally occurring phenomenon and mold spores are all around us. When spores enter a room, and the conditions are right, then mold can grow. This summer, the College has been proactive in its preparations for the return of students, which you can read more about below. Even so, some cases of mold have occurred and are being remedied immediately when found.  Therefore, diligence on the parts of the College’s Residence Life staff, Maintenance and Facilities Department, and student-residents continue to be required. 

College preparations for fall 2019

Cleaning & Maintenance

  • Every room over the summer has had its floors stripped and waxed and furniture cleaned. Cleaners for the College utilized a mold inhibitor when cleaning. 
  • In those instances where mold has been discovered on walls or ceilings the issue has been and will continue to be handled by cleaning and killing the mold and, in some cases, painting over the newly cleaned area with a mold inhibiting paint.
  • Every AC/heater unit has been cleaned by the College, again using mold inhibiting cleaner, and every AC/heater filter has been replaced with a filter designed to inhibit the presence of mold. 
  • Industrial dehumidifiers were installed in June on each floor of every hall to continuously reduce humidity levels in the buildings. 
  • Each of these steps mirror the steps that had been previously identified by an independent vendor licensed for cleaning and remediation in situations involving mold.

Precautionary checks

  • At spring closing the Office of Residential Life closed any open windows.
  • Staff members of the Office of Residential Life and the Maintenance and Facilities Department have conducted precautionary reviews for mold of every room multiple times over the summer. Any identified issues have been and will be corrected as soon possible. 

Education

  • Summer Residents received an email reminding them to keep windows closed, to run the AC/heater unit on automatic and to report to Residence Life staff concerns should they arise.
  • Helpful information will be available in print for student-residents at check-in concerning room care and conditions.
  • Reminders to students about keeping windows closed when the air conditioners are in operation have been placed on the windows in each room. 
  • Room care and conditions will be a topic at all opening floor meetings.

This website is part of the education process so that both the college and student-residents can work together to reduce issues related to mold.

Student-resident responsibilities 

Because substances thrive in wet or humid conditions, cleanliness in the residence hall living environment can assist in improving air quality and promoting a healthy and comfortable living environment. Items such as wet towels or clothing and oils or residue in leftover food containers and spilled drinks can be a medium for substance growth.  For these reasons, all students are asked to be responsible for the “3 Cs”: Climate, Cleaning and Communication:

Climate

Controlling room climate is essential to the success of managing indoor air quality and comfort. Moisture and humidity provide conditions that are favorable for growth of mold.  The campus’ heat plant strives to maintain optimal levels of humidity and temperature. Residence Hall residents are expected to assist Heat Plant with this effort by following the guidelines below:

  • KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED when the air conditioning unit is running. The condensation created during cooling season by open windows (hot air) mixing with conditioned air (cool air) indoors can lead to significant mold and moisture problems in both the room and the AC/heater unit. 
  • Close blinds early in the day to prevent the sun from heating the room. Turn off all lights when leaving the room.
  • Do not tamper with the AC/heater unit. Contact a Residential Life staff member in your hall for assistance with temperature or humidity issues or water intrusion.
  • Do not block the AC/heater air supply or return air vents or doors where the units are located. Reduced air flow to the system can result in excess moisture and promote substance growth within the system and residence hall rooms.
  • Hang damp or wet towels, bath mats and any wet clothing articles (including shoes) to allow for thorough drying after use to prevent substance growth or musty odors. 
  • If you find moisture building up on your windows, the AC/heater unit, or other surfaces, clean and dry it immediately.  If your windows are closed and you find this condition repeats, contact the RA on duty. 

Please note that you will be responsible for correcting conditions within your room that are designated as your responsibility, and as deemed reasonably necessary. Tampering with units or secured windows or failure to report problems with moisture may result in a residence hall policy violation.

Cleaning

  • You are responsible for cleaning your residence hall room. Maintain your residence in a responsible fashion that does not promote unhealthy conditions for you or your neighbors. Health and safety inspections will be performed randomly by Residential Life.
  • Hang damp or wet towels, bath mats and any wet clothing articles (including shoes) to allow for thorough drying after use to prevent substance growth or musty odors. 
  • Clean any spills immediately and thoroughly.
  • Empty your trash regularly to the dumpsters outside.
  • Vacuum carpet or rugs, sweep floors and dust your room regularly.
  • Avoid leaving open food containers out, seal all containers after use and refrigerate perishable foods. Dispose of used food containers and food scraps regularly to prevent the growth of mold.  
  • Follow these refrigerator tips:
    • Keep refrigerator doors tightly closed. Failure to secure refrigerator doors may result in defrosting of the freezer and may cause leaking onto the floor.
    • When defrosting refrigerators, take steps to prevent water from getting onto carpeting, rugs or floors. Student-residents may place small refrigerators in the shower areas where there are drains to defrost the freezer as needed as long as it doesn't prevent other students from using the facilities.
    • Refrigerators must be emptied of contents and defrosted before leaving for winter break.
  • Cleaning of community bathrooms is the responsibility of the College’s Maintenance and Facilities Department. Report any questionable conditions immediately through the maintenance system, your RA or your Hall Director.

Communication

  • Communication of any leaks or problematic conditions to Resident Life staff is required immediately, as it can take only 24-48 hours for substances to grow.
  • Residential Life staff should always be the initial contact for indoor air quality, humidity, or mold issues – this means in your own room and in bathrooms and kitchens. Report them IMMEDIATELY to your RA (or RA on-call), Hall Director or the main Residential Life office during business hours.
  • If you experience an issue after the Residential Life office is closed, find the RA on-call in your hall and report it to that staff member. They will report it as an urgent issue for response before the next work day.