Students returned to uncleaned apartments, water leaks, mold and broken furniture during the early move-in period last week, which left some students in temporary housing as they waited for their accommodations to be prepared.
Beginning with students who moved in early for pre-orientation programs, New Student Orientation advisor training and other activities, the Office of Residential Living received reports from multiple residence halls. The office dispatched personnel from its department, and from the Office of Planning and Facilities Management to address students’ problems as quickly as possible.
Common problems included air conditioner leaks and unclean rooms. According to Executive Director for Residential Services Patrick Killilee, more students had issues with rooms not yet being cleaned this year than in past years. A similar number of students reported facilities issues this year compared to past years.
Upon entering their Henle Village apartment, Marco Garcia (SFS ’19) and his roommates immediately found signs of black mold. Garcia and his roommates were placed in temporary housing — first, in Darnall Hall prior to the start of New Student Orientation, and then in Village C East.
“The Henle was in a bad condition [upon arrival]. For how much we pay you’d think housing would at least be presentable upon move in,” Garcia said. “The university looked at the apartment and eventually deemed it safe, and they cleaned it very thoroughly.”
The Office of Residential Living responded promptly to their report of black mold, sending in a certified applied microbial remediation Technician to inspect the apartment and treat the mold within a few days. After a week of measures taken by the Office of Planning and Facilities Management to eliminate the mold and the associated safety hazards, Garcia and his roommates were told they could move into their apartment.
Katie Schmidt’s (SFS ’18)kitchen in her Village A apartment was entirely gutted once Schmidt and her parents realized that a massive water leak and black mold had overtaken the area during the summer.
“I received early move in to help with new student move in and it soon became apparent that the kitchen had severe water damage and black mold. It was unusable,” Schmidt said.
This proved especially problematic as Schmidt did not sign up for a meal plan this semester.
“Georgetown treated the apartment like it was ready to move in when in reality the kitchen needed a week of renovation,” Schmidt said.
Killilee acknowledged the problems returning students experienced on their respective move-in days.
“We did have students impacted by facilities that were not cleaned or ready for move-in, especially during our August Transition period,” Killilee wrote in an email to The Hoya. “In most cases, rooms and apartments were cleaned immediately, but would delay move-in for an hour or so. In a handful of instances some students were given temporary housing while more extensive work was completed.”
Killilee said the Office of Residential Living and the Office of Planning and Facilities Management is looking at ways to reduce the increased reports of unclean rooms during student move in.
“We have seen more apartment cleaning issues that we typically do. Residential Living and Facilities will be looking at how we improve the cleaning, maintenance and inspections process in the future. The August Transition program will also need to be reviewed to allow for more time in units before academic year occupancy can begin,” Killilee wrote. “While [we] will not be able to prevent all facilities issue that could arise, no student should move-in to a room that has not been cleaned.”
Killilee explained the difficulties both offices face in working together to ensure that all housing is ready for students arriving early to campus.
“Ideally, no student would move into a room that was not ready for them. The Office of Residential Living and Facilities Management work closely on preparation of rooms and apartments for fall move-in,” Killilee wrote.
Killilee said the Office of Residential Living and the Office of Planning and Facilities Management are pressed for time during the summer to maintain clean residences, and are challenged by older buildings that require more maintenance.
“There is a very compressed calendar from the end of summer school and summer conferences to when students start returning for the academic year. We have over 1,900 students arrive prior to the official move-in weekend,” Killilee wrote. “In some cases there is less than a week to clean a room and make repairs. Second, we have aging facilities which need more time to clean and repair, than new facilities.”
Although the housing issues came as a surprise to students upon move in, many students expressed their appreciation toward both the Office of Residential Living and the Office of Planning and Facilities Management for their work in making the necessary repairs in a timely and satisfactory manner.
“It’s important to mention that after the issue with my kitchen was identified, facilities did a great job to get the renovation moving,” Schmidt said. “I really appreciate all of the work that residential living and facilities are currently doing on our apartment.”
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