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Same old, same mold: East Campus dorms deal with perennial problem

East Campus may be a dry campus, but this policy has not stopped mold from growing in several of its older dorms. 

After reports of mold growth on East Campus, Housing and Residence Life contracted with Anabec, a third-party cleaning company, to examine every window and air conditioning unit in the residence halls. Following the treatments, students and resident assistants on East Campus commented that the problem’s spread seems to have halted. 

“As the semester has gotten underway and the seasons are starting to shift, North Carolina humidity levels cause elevated levels of mold in outdoor air and can impact people with mold sensitivity,” wrote Joe Gonzalez, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean for residential life, in a September email to East Campus residents. “This typically leads to an increase in student requests to have their air conditioner units inspected for mold, and this year is no different.”

Gonzalez explained in an email to The Chronicle that although the number of concerns submitted to Housing and Residence Life has increased this year, there were no severe developments.

Some students, however, said otherwise.

First-year C.J. Tyson, a resident of Bassett residence hall, told The Chronicle that his mold situation was relatively mild in comparison to that of some of his friends: one friend had a buildup of mold and mildew in his room and later contracted bronchitis. Another was forced to move to a different dorm because she was allergic to the mold. 

Another Bassett resident, first-year Scott Mahon, said mold could also be found growing in the common room and under the kitchen AC units. 

Courtesy of Scott Mahon

First-year Ishika Gupta added that Alspaugh residents suspected that the mold growth in their rooms was making them sick.

“I think once HRL and facilities realized that several residents were having the same problem and that it wasn’t just a one-off occurrence, they realized they needed a more large-scale solution,” said an East Campus resident assistant who was granted anonymity. “I will say once they cleaned, we haven’t had any more residents bring up mold issues, so as far as I can tell, it worked really well.”

Mahon seconded this, writing that since HRL finished inspections and cleanings, he has not noticed any additional mold growing in his room.

Mold has been a perennial issue on East and Central Campus in recent years.

Gonzalez added that students can take preventative measures to stop mold from appearing in their rooms.

“Maintaining good room conditions plays an important part in maintaining a healthy environment,” he wrote. “There are things students can do to limit the accumulation of debris in their air conditioning unit, such as regularly sweeping or vacuuming the floor and laundering bedding regularly.”