In the halls of Hillcrest as seen on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Hillcrest is one of the University of Iowa's Residence Halls. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

Shanahan: ‘Hillcrest finds some squatters: cockroaches’

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Residents have found cockroaches in Hillcrest in all parts of the residence hall, from the hallways to the laundry rooms and even the lobby.

By Julia Shanahan
julia-shanahan@uiowa.edu

Move-in day for freshmen is an emotional milestone in all teenagers’ lives. When the parents leave at the end of the day, you’re left with your roommate and the belongings you brought to remind you of home.

On my move-in day, I was not only left with my roommate but with some unwanted guests as well. We came back to our room after a night out to discover several very large cockroaches, which I initially thought were mice, walking around the floor.

After putting in a work order and having someone come in to spread powder, we were told by Hillcrest administration that it had to do with the construction going on across the street and that once the room was more lived-in, this wouldn’t continue. A few weeks after that, we found another, smaller cockroach in our bathroom.

People have been finding cockroaches in Hillcrest in all parts of the residence hall, from the hallways to the laundry rooms and even the lobby. This is unacceptable, considering how much money students pay to live on campus.

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A Hillcrest resident who wishes to remain anonymous noted that they moved in a little earlier than everyone else.

“When I moved in, there were about 10 dead cockroaches just in the hallway,” they said.

Teri Sieve, Housing & Dining’s assistant director of custodial services, said cockroaches are unfortunately not an uncommon phenomenon and are very difficult to get rid of. She said the dining facility in Hillcrest, although kept exceptionally clean, is a factor that attracts insects such as cockroaches and that the construction occurring across the street has definitely stirred things up as well. She acknowledged that cockroaches have been an ongoing problem over the years.

“We’d love to guarantee 100 percent that you’d never see one, but we do have things in place to make sure that they are knocked out,” Sieve said.

There is a contractor who comes in over the summer and treats every room and space in the building to ensure that problematic cracks are clean and sealed. Housing & Dining has another contractor come in to do a final sweep before move-in dates, and after that, Housing & Dining relies heavily on the work orders filed by students.

Sieve pointed out that it is inaccurate to say that the cockroaches would go away after students begin living in the building, as I was previously told. There is definitely a partnership between the custodial staff and the students to make sure that food is being disposed of properly. Sieve put an emphasis on the importance of filing work orders, because that is Housing & Dining’s documentation that something is wrong.

Seeing that this is an acknowledged problem, the contractors should be more mindful when coming in over the summer. Doing more than a couple visits would also be helpful in the extermination efforts before students even begin to live in the building.

I don’t want to shine a spotlight on any one department, because it is understood that cockroaches are merciless. However, for as much money as students pay, this is definitely an issue that we do not want to deal with.

Sieve and the rest of the custodial staff wants the same result as the student residents.

“These are your homes, and we don’t want you to have to share them,” she said.

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