The presence of mold spores in Drew University residence halls have been reported by students for some time now. The health concerns voiced by students have resulted in numerous complaints to facilities and even the relocation of some residents.
“My shower curtain is definitely moldy,” said Maddy Sands (‘22) who currently resides in Riker hall. “We have to clean it ourselves, it’s gross anytime I step in.”
Sands is not the only one dealing with the mold infestation. Patricia Dominick (‘23) said that early in the semester she took it upon herself to clean the mold out of the vents in her suite. Due to her severe allergies, Dominick did not want to risk the health issues she could encounter from the mold.
Ranging from minor to serious issues, mold outbreaks in dorms can cause students to have breathing problems, coughs, colds, headaches, sore throats, asthma attacks, bronchitis and pneumonia. While the recent cold outbreak on campus has incited many of the same symptoms, some students blame it on the mold, saying their condition is due to poor upkeep in residence halls.
Emily Sheridan (‘24) worried about the mold’s impacts on her health. She reported that mold has been growing across her ceiling in Baldwin hall. She noticed the mold upon move-in this semester and said the ceiling was nearly collapsing because of it.
“I do not live in that room anymore but I submitted a work request to facilities the day I moved in and they never came or followed up,” said Sheridan.
According to Director of Housing Stephanie Pelham, many of the mold complaints have been from Riker Hall residents. She said, “Facilities has been getting some calls regarding cleaning vents. Because of this, our technicians are currently cleaning all the vents in Riker Hall, as well as a few other rooms on campus.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Drew Facilities sent an email to all of Riker’s residents informing them about an upcoming vent cleaning due to the level of concern expressed
by students. According to the email, facilities will be entering each dorm room to clean and vacuum the vents and
asked that students clear the areas around their vents in order to assist the technicians.
Dominick, who lives in Riker, said, “I think that the vent cleaning is long overdue. I have severe allergies and did not want to be suffering in my room but I’m happy they’re doing something about it for the whole building.” Dominick hopes the vent maintenance will make a difference in the overall health of students living in Riker.
While many students claimed they could see the mold growing visibly in their vents and various places around their dorms, Pelham said, “We have found little to no surface mold. Any mold that was found was remediated.”
Despite this, Sands and others maintained that mold was growing in areas of their rooms.
Bridget Kenny (‘23) previously had to relocate after being exposed to mold. While living in a triple room in Brown hall, Kenny was breathing in mold for a week before being relocated to a new room.
“I woke up really sick from mold in my carpet,” said Kenny. “I’m an asthmatic and my health is important and I can’t be in a room that’s going to make me sick.” Kenny now receives housing accommodations that ensure she will not be placed in a room with carpeting.
Students who suspect there may be mold growing in their rooms should report it by submitting a work order request to Facilities.
**EDITED 10/28/2021 — a previous version of this article incorrectly cited Stephanie Pelham as the Director of Housing.**