Students don’t typically think about what happens when they do a clean sweep of their dorm room.
The ORU trash—whether it’s paper, yogurt or empty shampoo bottles—is compacted into a block. In the Claudius and EMR dorms, two workers spend multiple hours a day moving these trash blocks from the compactors, up the elevators and to a truck where it’s then taken to a dumpster. Towers has an easier system; the compactor spits the trash out to a dumpster.
George Perkins, director of physical plant, building and grounds, proposes a change from the internal trash chute to an external dumpster system. Perkins said that although the internal chutes have their benefits, universities all over the U.S. have updated to external bins.
“We’ve been talking about this really for a couple years, but it all boils down to dollars and cents,” Perkins said.
John Wood is the associate director of physical plant at the University of Tulsa. TU switched from internal trash chutes to external dumpsters in parts of the residence halls during a renovation period.
“The main benefit has been the labor savings from having to clean internal trash chutes and haul the trash out of the building,” Woods said.
Although the movement from internal trash chutes to external would be costly, the transition would save money long term regarding maintenance costs and pest problems.
“It makes the students responsible for their own trash and getting it out of there,” Perkins said. “It’s less cleanup for us and, of course, less pests.”
Junior pre-physical therapy major, Danielle Hahn, commented on the necessity for ORU to save money on the little things.
“We’re a small university, so saving money is really [important]; students complain about how much it costs and then they don’t want to cut where they can,” Hahn said.
Woods said that the value of ORU’s internal trash chute system is because of the 7th to 11th floors that make up the dorms. Because of the high-rise buildings, the proposed external system would create more work for students. Instead of walking down the hallway, they would take the elevator and walk outside to a dumpster.
“The big deal for the kids is the convenience of them being able to walk out their room, to a hallway, open up a door, and just chuck it,” Perkins said.
But will students accept a transition that requires them to take their trash to an outside bin?
“If it’s raining outside, heck no,” Katie Wiet, sophomore nursing major, said.
“It would be an issue for a semester and then no one would talk about it again,” Hahn said.
One argument for switching to an external trash system is to ward off pests. Everything from mice, bats, cockroaches and squirrels has been found in the dorms.
“My roommate gets like, really sick to his stomach when he sees bugs…it cracks me up…he starts gagging whenever he sees a bug in our room,” said Zach Chaffin, freshman pastoral care major.
Plans will be discussed more concretely this summer. George Perkins and other administrators will travel to other campuses to take notes on other trash systems.
Some ideas include: asethetically pleasing dumpsters with a pergola on top, using the basements as either storage or a study room and doing the construction during summertime.
When asked, Wiet imagined the possibility of external dumpsters.
“We could reminiscence on the old days, ‘Remember when we get to use the chute?’”
There’s a mouse in my house
If you hear high-pitched screaming coming from Claudius, it might be more than Channing Tatum.
Two mice were found on Claudius 2 East and South wings in the past couple of months.
“All the girls were screaming and running like it was going to kill us or something,” said Jonnah Ogle, a Claudius resident.
Students feel the freezing weather and so do mice. Director of Building and Grounds George Perkins, said that, “the very cold weather tends to draw critters inside.”
Although only two mice were confirmed to be spotted, the girls are “a little more antsy,” said Claudius 2 South Residence Advisor Kati Tifft.
“It’s a problem that I would understand happening, especially cause it’s only been on the second floor. It’s not something that’s widespread,”Tifft said.
Amanda Bernard, Claudius lower head residence advisor, confirmed that “there are multiple mice.”
To a skittish person, a mouse is unnerving. But this problem is very normal. The previous mild winter weather minimized more mice from finding a haven in the dorms.
“We’ve had less calls than we’ve ever had before,” said Perkins.
The mice are also looking for a food source, and with highly sensitive noses, they can smell anything from packaged Oreos to spilled soda.
Perkins gives tips to students as an extra preventive measure: wipe down desks, frequently empty trash and vacuum carpets, wash dirty laundry and dirty dishes and keep food in sealed containers.
When mice are spotted, maintenance calls an outside pest control company that supplies the sticky traps and bait. Girls on Claudius 2 said that they were very quick to lay down the traps.