With the strange attachments of this winter’s warm weather, other oddities such as Monadnock Hall’s mouse infestation leaves college officials working hard to solve the issues.
Monadnock Hall resident Emily McNulty is terrified. Upon coming back on the first day of Keene State College’s spring semester, she pulled open her dresser drawers to find her clothes soiled with tiny mouse droppings. To McNulty and her roommate, this quickly became a dire situation, one that would continue up through the month of February despite the college’s vast attempts at clearing the mice from running rampant through the residence hall’s cracks.
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“You can hear them at night, crawling around, sorting through our stuff.” McNulty said.
Other residents of Monadnock Hall, like Chris Brace and Rachel Collette, didn’t believe it until it was too late.
“Two nights ago I was in my room and I heard a scream,” Collette said. “I looked out and there were tons of people around a room trying to catch a mouse that was running around.”
Brace admitted, “These things were running down the hall, getting underneath the two inch space between the door and the floor.”
KSC Residential Life and the maintenance department are working furiously to resolve the problem with outside sources such as pest control and private exterminators.
Recent emails sent out by college officials have openly announced the presence of mice, but consider this nothing out of the ordinary.
Carissa Barillaro, residence director of Huntress, Fiske, and Monadnock halls said, “We are aware of the issues, and students have got to come and communicate with us as opposed to complaining.”
With Keene pest control companies coming in and spraying poison to deter the mice and leaving traps, successful attempts at removing the mice seem to be making some progress.
Peanut butter, as opposed to cheese, has been left in the traps designed to catch the mice around the building. Originally the infestation took hold on the third floor of Monadnock Hall, but has now cast itself down throughout the first floor.
“For some reason, the mice seem to be very active in Monadnock, possibly because of the tiny cracks that can be reached from outside the walls,” Barillaro said. “The plan is to keep the traps around until we have gone seven days without catching any mice, or heard a report of one.”
Monadnock Hall resident, Sam Baggaley, believes this may take some time. “They’re quick, and I’ve caught a few, but they always seem to jump right out of my hands,” Baggaley referred to the incident on Jan. 31, when a mouse appeared in a particular room.
“We finally caught the thing and took it outside and threw it in the bushes of Randall. It was only about an inch and a half, a baby,” Baggaley said.
But the mice aren’t the only problem, Haley Lundgren, another Monadnock Hall resident, believes.
“The mice have been here since Christmas break, and they’ve probably been here longer, we just didn’t know,” said Lundgren. “They’ve ate my K-cups, pooped all over the room, and they’re all sorts of colors, grey, white, black.”
Lundgren and others, such as freshman Emily Bergeron, believe the mouse traps brought in by college maintenance and outside pest control companies are drawing ants to residents’ rooms.
“It’s to the point where I can’t even leave a crumb in my room or ants will be all over it. Sometimes I go to watch TV in the common room and can’t bring myself to even go back,” Bergeron said.
Ryan Lear, a third-floor resident of Monadnock said, “The third floor is infested with ants. Don’t drop a Dorito or else.”
Despite the fact that KSC is alleviating the building pressure from students’ frustration, the infestation still exists.
“Pest control said the ants are probably in the walls,” said McNulty. “And my RA Colin says it’s not a big deal, and that he wouldn’t care if there was a mouse in his room.”
“It’s not a big deal,” said Colin Daly, resident assistant and student body president. “I haven’t seen any mice or ants in my room. The simple fact is that people leave too much food lying around in their dirty rooms. They should be happy that it’s not cockroaches.”
While Monadnock Hall deals with its guttural problems of prevalent infestations, Keene State College insists in an email that, “Students are not being put at risk.”
Carissa Barillaro also insists that, “The college is doing the best it can. While the mice are coming in from small holes and cracks, we’re doing the best we can to solve it, also being mindful of the students’ concerns.”
Daly also commented by saying, “It’s a cute little mouse; it’s not going to come eat you in the middle of the night.”
College officials advised in an email that residents keep their rooms in a clean fashion, to prevent enticing mice and ants into their rooms.
Barillaro, who recently had a surprise visit by a mouse inside her desk assures that, “No one is immune to the problems at hand, and we’re working with an entire team to get this under control.”
Cam King can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.