Friday, November 24th, 2017

Gorham dorm treated for bed bugs

Posted on October 23, 2017 in News
By USM Free Press

Maverick Lynes

On Monday, Sept. 18 Upton-Hastings residents received word, via email, of a confirmed case of bed bugs inside the building. The email informed residents that treatment to take care of the the infestation had begun and that the situation was being monitored closely. It also encouraged residents to check their rooms and their body for potential bed bugs to try to curb the spread of bugs to other dorms.

Students in Upton-Hastings have been feeling a little out of the norm. Students have decided to attack the situation head on and conduct a search of their rooms.

“Should I start looking to buy a Hazmat Suit?” said Upton-Hastings resident Dannick Breton.

While that is probably a little extreme, it is no doubt that having bed bugs would ruin an individual’s week (or month).

However, even the mention of bed bugs has made residents feel uneasy. Some residents are using words like “disgusting” and “nerve-racking” to describe the situation. It has them feeling itchy when they have no reason to be. It seems as if these bed bugs may have inhabited the heads of students as well as the beds of the unlucky residents.

Many students who live in buildings other than Upton-Hastings sympathize with the residents of the “bedbug building.” However, some do not share that sympathetic view. Some students have even ostracized their friends who live in Upton-Hasting from their rooms because of the fear of spreading bedbugs and starting a campus-wide contamination.

According to Resident Director of Upton-Hastings Kelly Brague, the issue was confirmed in only one room on the Upton side of the building and is currently in the treatment process. Luckily for the building and the Gorham campus, this unfortunate outbreak was caught and dealt with early. The residents of the room, who will remain unnamed, were proactive in their encounter and went to the resident officials as soon as they realized they had a problem. Thanks to those students, the campus may have avoided an outbreak.

The issue came to light a week before the email was sent out to residents. Admitting to not being entirely sure how the bed bugs got into the dorm, Brague explained, “We addressed it as soon as we got confirmation [of] what it was.” She stated how forthcoming they were regarding the problem and got the help they needed to deal with the critters on campus. Brague seems to be handling this with as much positivity as she can, given how this unfavorable scenario is playing out.

With one room confirmed, it was in the school’s best interest to be swift in dealing with the issue. “Other rooms were tested, and they were negative,” Brague said. However, the issue of bed bugs is not considered completely resolved. Brague said that she hesitates to confirm that these critters are a problem students can set aside. In the current situation, that would not be a fair assumption. The more diligent people are, the more likely the bed bugs will not spread to other dorms.

What a lot of freshmen may not realize is, bed bugs in college dorms are more common than they think. A college dorm is a paradise for bed bugs, multiple beds to a room and an above average amount of clothes on the floor. It is the equivalent to an all-inclusive resort for humans.

While it provided the campus with a conversation and maybe some unwanted jokes for the week, residents are considering the worst, wondering what would happen if there was an outbreak.

“Where would we stay?” “How would the school handle that?” “Do you think we would get a break from school?” All of these are serious questions from students. Whether or not bed bugs would be worth getting time off school is a debate for another day. Luckily things seem to be moving in a positive direction.

While students hope this is the last time they hear the word  “bed bugs” for a long time, it seems that this problem isn’t that much of a problem at all. While we mourn for the one confirmed room, and we wish a speedy recovery to their beds and whatever bites they may have, the consensus on campus seems to be, “At least it wasn’t me.”  With midterms sneaking up, it is safe to say students would rather avoid putting “get rid of bed bugs” on their to-do list.