Rotting food discovered in Gessner ceiling

Over interterm, maintenance workers responded to a request for a lightbulb repair in the lobby of Gessner Hall. What initially appeared to be a routine fix, quickly became a gross anomaly.

Within the ceilings of the lobby are four trapezoid voids, each about 10 feet deep. As the crew worked to repair the lightbulb, they saw these voids filled with 30 to 40 to-go containers with rotting food left inside.

Along with the to-go boxes, residents had also been throwing bottles and broken pool cues into the ceiling. While the motive for these behaviors is unclear, it was a smelly surprise for the workers who responded to the call.

Maintenance workers were surprised by the findings and disappointed that individual residents were not using trash bins but rather throwing their garbage into the ceiling.

Since the discovery, the ceiling voids have been blocked off to prevent a similar situation from transpiring in the future.

Uncleanly behaviors are certainly not condoned by the Director of Residence Life, Nick Goodman. On January 21, Goodman sent an email to Gessner residents urging them to take better care of the hall as it contributes to an unpleasant reputation that drives guests away.

“It was moldy and disgusting,” Goodman said. “I didn’t expect that and I was honestly very disappointed.” Goodman attributes the stench of certain areas of residence halls to irresponsible behavior.

“These buildings are very well maintained by maintenance in the common areas, where they can see,” Goodman said. “Occasionally, because of some irresponsible behavior by a very small fraction of students, that living area is degraded for other people to enjoy.”

Many residents were unaware of the rotting food in the ceiling prior to Goodman’s email but noticed trash and other messes in other common areas such as the stairs and hallways. Freshman Leonardo Byer started to notice the smells during his fall semester.

“[Maintenance] was trying to clean all the time and it didn’t work,” Byer said. “People will throw food on the floor and just leave it there.”

The common spaces in residence halls are cleaned regularly, but the rest of the cleaning is left up to student responsibility. Tommy Wood, Director of Facilities, believes there is only a small portion of residents with messy tendencies.

“From time to time, we experience individuals that choose to deface property or create messes,” Wood said. “Generally speaking, our students treat campus like their home, which is what we want them to feel like.”

Byer agrees that most of the Gessner residents are respectful and get along with each other pretty well.

As a Gessner resident himself, Goodman establishes expectations for both him and his residents alike. He hopes to create the best living experience for all residents.

“Residence Halls are a community effort,” Goodman said. “We’re all in this together to create a pleasant living environment for everybody.”