Hallowgreens: First Year Perspective.

On Hallowgreens night, I found Jesus.


He was dipping two fingers into his red plastic cup filled with Natural Light, and blessing anyone who passed him on the Townhouse Greens. He then proceeded to give Zach Galifianakis a bear hug. I’ve seen some funny things in my first few months at St. Mary’s, but Hallowgreens may have just topped them all.

For journalistic purposes, I tried not to have any expectations of the event, so that writing from a first-years point of view would be as unbiased as possible. The hype leading up to Hallowgreens, however, was impossible not to hear – as well as the stories of past years. As put by a fellow student in the laundry room the day prior, “you’ll love it, it’s insane.”

And so it was.

My night began in a friend’s dorm, getting dressed and drawing on a mole (I was Marylin Monroe for the night). With me, was Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Mr. Chow from the Hangover, and that guy from Inception. Movie characters were a theme for us, and when we reached the crowded Greens, it seemed we weren’t the only ones.

When we weren’t running into blue “Na’vi” from Avatar, we found ourselves bumping into the green “Hulk.” Some people really committed to body paint and light clothing, despite freezing weather – dedication I found simply impressive.

Walking from townhouse to townhouse made the entire block seem to merge into one large party, music from each individual room blending with others into a cacophony of Lady Gaga and Lil’ Wayne. Some of my favorite townhouses were themed, including one with people standing in a picture frame as the figures from the painting “American Gothic.”

And, of course, the Hallowgreens notorious trick-or-treating for alcohol made the evening’s events that much more interesting. One individual, obviously having consumed a fair amount of substance, was seen attempting to climb a pyramid tent in front of one of the townhouses as though it were a real pyramid, as Public Safety watched unamused.

Some students even chose to dress as Public Safety officers, and were remarkably convincing– so much so that we didn’t realize they were in costume until they were seen encouraging another student to chug down their beer.

Real Public Safety officers did in fact intervene when at about ten in the evening, loud popping noises were heard twice from the far side of the Greens. It was unclear to anyone whether it was firecrackers or extraordinarily loud balloons exploding; however – despite the unexplained noise – the event continued, unperturbed.

Some time later, as I was leaving, I saw two people dressed as Adam and Eve – and wondered if they too found Jesus and had a conversation with him tonight. After convincing a friend not to swim in the fountain by Schaffer Hall, everyone headed home; to get some much needed sleep.

In my opinion as a first-year, Hallowgreens was memorable to say the least, and I can’t wait to do it all again, next year.

Townhouses Under Attack by Slime

Boone 4, a.k.a. “condemned house” or “mold house”  was recently emptied of people and possessions. (Photo by Ryan Gugerty)
Boone 4, a.k.a. “condemned house” or “mold house” was recently emptied of people and possessions. (Photo by Ryan Gugerty)

This year, the residents of Boone 4 were confronted head-on with the “mold menace.”

The problems started when the parents of a resident of the Geneva Boone House 4 put in a complaint to Residence Life and the Physical Plant about a “moldy” smell in Boone 4 and allergy-like symptoms.

According to Assistant Vice President of Campus Operations Derek Thornton, “[my team and I] went to the house because of a phone call received from a parent. I needed to find out for myself about that specific issue.” Thornton added that once he went to Boone 4 he found evidence of extensive “water infiltration” in the mechanical closet.

Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator Polly Miller was also called in to check the house, and said, “when I saw inside the mechanical closet I knew there was a problem.” Miller also took air and swab samples of the affected area, all of which came back positive for multiple species of mold.

Director of Residence Life Joanne Goldwater, who was first contacted about the mold and made the decision to evacuate students from the townhouse, said “mold is a constant issue everywhere on campus, in everyone’s homes, not just at St. Mary’s.”

Mold is not a new problem on campus either; it was found in the Prince George dorm earlier in the year, and small amounts of mold were also found in three other townhouses on the Boone block. However, Miller said that those problems were small enough to be handled by housekeeping.

Miller stressed the ubiquity and tenacity of mold growth, and said, “all it takes for mold to grow is moisture…if [a leak] is not stopped and [the area] not cleared in 24 to 48 hours mold can grow.” She further added that mold can grow on “pretty much anything if it has the nutrients it needs” and that long-term exposure to some forms of mold, especially the aspergillus genus of mold species, have been linked to pulmonary disease and cancer.

In order to combat the mold, Thornton and his team has been working extensively to eradicate the problem areas and clean out the townhouse. According to Thornton his team has already, among other things, removed the affected drywall and cleaned out the remainder of the mechanical closet.

At the time of this writing, Miller said that the affected room in Boone 4 was also going to be “under containment” over the weekend, while a third-party abatement team came to clean up the remaining affected areas.

Thornton said that, “my team has taken the initiative to go into all the townhouses. We want to be proactive about checking mechanical closets [for mold].”

He added, “because of what we’ve found we’ve stepped up the process.” Thornton also said that if a student suspects their living area is infested with mold that he or she should let maintenance know immediately. Goldwater said, “don’t wait until it [the problem] gets astronomically gross”.

Students Throw Annual Mardi Greens Celebration

Students parade in the library in celebration of the campus tradition of Mardi Gras on February 24th. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)
Students parade in the library in celebration of the campus tradition of Mardi Gras on February 24th. (Photo by Brendan O’Hara)

At approximately 9:45p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 24, a small number of students gathered on the greens to celebrate Mardi Gras. The students dressed up in colorful clothing and picked up instruments and pots and pans in order to make their merriment known to the rest of the campus. The gallant Fat Tuesday advocates paraded scantily-clad around campus on the particularly cold night in outrageous outfits. With pride they reminded the campus for the next few hours that Mardi gras must not be forgotten.

Although the first documented parade in America occurred in 1837, the holiday’s recognition dates as far back as the year 1699 when the French explorer Sieur d’Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition on the Mississippi River. As Mardi Gras was being celebrated as a national holiday in France already, on March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.

Festivals centered on the same idea of carnival are still widely celebrated today around America. Fat Tuesday is so named because it falls right before Ash Wednesday, the last day before Lent which is a forty day fasting period observed by the Roman Catholic Church as well as various Christian denominations. Some of festivities that go hand in hand with the pagan holiday include wearing masks, dancing wildly around, drinking and feigning general madness for the duration of the night.

St. Mary’s didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras to the fullest on Feb. 24, however, the celebrations continued on Friday Feb. 27 with MardiGreens. Over 150 students crowded in on the greens to celebrate what a Facebook event started by some seniors called “a St. Mary’s tradition that should not be forgotten.” It was a particularly warm night and most students enjoyed being outside, even though the school-sponsored “NEST” occurred the same night in the nearby Daugherty

Palmer Commons building.