Most of the residents who were displaced last semester due to the mold in Caroline and Prince George’s (PG) Halls were able to easily recover all of the belongings they placed in storage. However, some residents have reported missing items that have not yet been found. In light of this situation, the Office of Residence Life has been able to compensate these students for their losses.
Usually, these items were lost after being submitted to storage rooms in Caroline and PG over winter break. Jenna Crutchfield, a first-year, was able to find her missing rugs with the help of the Residence Life staff.
“My RA had come by and wrote down our names [and items] on a ‘lost’ list that was on the second floor of PG. It had been about two weeks and I still had not heard anything,” said Crutchfield. “Finally, an RA told me that she heard they had some lost items in the basement of Caroline and to ask Res Life if they could help. I got so impatient that I went into the Residence Life office asking if I could get into the storage room in the Caroline basement. We made our way down and entered the room with boxes along the walls and some scattered on the floor. But as soon as I walked in, there they were, right there during the entire three-week process.”
While Crutchfield was glad to find her lost items, there is still one part of her ordeal that she does not understand. “My room number was written on the rugs that were wrapped together and taped,” she explained. “In big black bold print, 319 was written on them. There were only two dorms effected by the mold. That means there are only two rooms with the number 319. If you saw that, would you not check with [the residents of] those two rooms?”
Joanne Goldwater, the Director of Residence Life, explained that so many different people helped with simultaneous, multiple moves that it is impossible to place responsibility for the lost items, or the fact that some items were not returned efficiently, on one group or person. “We had a moving company hired by the Physical Plant, Physical Plant workers themselves, students, faculty, Residence Life staff, and Student Activities staff all helping with the move,” said Goldwater.
“The people who were inexperienced or confused about the way we were storing things may have misplaced certain boxes in Room X when they should have gone to Room A, or didn’t notice the markings on boxes. Any unclaimed items were brought to Caroline so there would be one space for people to look for missing items. If the residents do not find their items, they can bring the receipts for their replacement purchases to the Office of Residence Life and we will reimburse the item or we will order it for you. We can’t do this unless the student notifies us of his or her missing items,” said Goldwater
Lena Castro, a first-year, lost two boxes that contained important items like her printer and her desk lamp in the move from the Sea Voyager back into her dorm and took advantage of Residence Life’s offer.
“I returned from winter break to find two of the boxes I had submitted for storage out of an original four outside of my dorm room,” said Castro, “and I wasn’t too concerned at first, because I figured everybody else was still sorting out what was theirs and what wasn’t and that my belongings would eventually show up. I reported my missing items to my RA and I listed my missing boxes on a master list on the second floor of PG.”
“I spoke with residence life several times regarding my missing belongings,” Castro continued, “and they assured me that if they did not turn up by a specified date, then I would be reimbursed for my missing belongings. So I continued searching and checking in with Res Life and there was no sign of my missing belongings so I went ahead and purchased replacements and submitted my receipts of purchase to the Office of Residence Life.”
Goldwater said that this unprecedented event of moving the residents of two full dorms has helped Residence Life prepare for similar events, if they should ever happen.
“A majority of students have been successful with their adjustment back to their dorms, but we have definitely learned lessons and would probably do things differently if something like this happened again,” she explained. “We could have made the situation less frenzied, but I am amazed that it didn’t descend into complete chaos. We [the Residence Life staff] are so appreciative of the outpouring of assistance and support from students, faculty, and staff that helped us when we had this crisis. I think it speaks volumes about what our community is like.”