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A recent DuBois College House meeting to address pest control issues ironically had one attendee too many.

"There was a mouse on the floor as we were discussing the rodent problem," Wharton freshman Courtney Harris said, adding that residents "are really just upset" about infestations.

Yet, by plugging holes, hiring exterminators and offering "Mouse 101" information and prevention sessions, Facilities and Housing officials said they are tackling the problem head-on.

Other prevention measures include new "pest post-its" -- checklists in which residents can record their specific pest problem, whether it be a mouse, cockroach or other vermin -- to alert Facilities to the location and habits of unwanted critters. Upon arrival, students living on campus were given a notepad of these forms.

"We will still have mice, we will still have insects," Director of Housing and Conference Services Doug Berger said. "We're just in an area that's going to have them."

That said, with the joint efforts between Housing and Facilities in place, Berger added, "I know from what I'm hearing from the house deans that I think the program is a really good idea."

So far, Hamilton College House -- newly renovated and the first to have undergone a "Mouse 101" seminar -- has "seen a significant drop in exterminator calls," according to Facilities Services Zone Director Betsy Robinson.

"We had huge success in working with the Facilities design and construction team for Hamilton House to seal any open penetrations in the walls while the new fan coil units were being installed," Robinson wrote in an e-mail, adding that only five pest control complaints have come in so far from the house.

Other college houses, however, have not undergone the same renovations and have not seen the same drastic improvements.

"We had been told that extra care would be given over the summer to those rooms that have traditionally had pest problems regardless of the efforts of our residents to keep them clean," Gregory College House Dean Christopher Donovan wrote in an e-mail. "I don't think that happened, and it isn't surprising that the few complaints I've received this year are from the same rooms and the same areas that had problems last year and the year before."

While Facilities officials note that filling holes and making repairs is an ongoing effort, some residents are dismayed by the current situation.

"There's a huge hole in my closet," Harris said, adding that she resorted to covering over the area in masking tape.

Noting that although he expects "only limited results" from the new Facilities programs if they are not accompanied by structural improvements, Donovan said that rodent and pest issues have yet to plague his house in the same ways they have in past years.

"But it's early for us," he said. "Usually the problem emerges... in November or so when the temperature drops."

Other houses are reporting a so far, so good pest situation as well.

"We just haven't had a real problem this year," Harrison College House Dean Frank Pellicone said.

While adding that he is "kind of skeptic about those post-its," Pellicone praised the "pro-active" Facilities efforts saying, "Almost all of the changes are making positive differences."

Students in the Quadrangle are also faring well in the efforts to keep dorms rodent-free.

"I haven't had a single complaint," McClelland Hall Information Desk assistant Will Fenton said, noting that while cockroaches and mice have yet to cross his path, one student had reported having a squirrel in his room.

"Apparently [his window] was relatively close to a tree," Fenton said.

Quad residents did report an occasional roach, but said the issue had not been a problem.

"I saw something run" in one of the lounges, Wharton freshman Michael Korzinstone said, noting that his room, however, had remained pest-free.

Some students are still holding off on judging the new program, but are optimistic.

"We definitely had a mouse problem last year," DuBois resident and College junior Tamar Sinclair said. "But it's good this year, so far."

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