Updated Oct. 22 at 7:56 p.m.
Freshmen Kayla Jacobs and Jenny Howard said they are more than frustrated with the mold outbreak in Virginia. Though the issue started earlier in the semester, the roommates said they didn't receive help until Fall Break.
"I had been smelling stuff, and it was just like, 'What is this?'" Howard said. "And then one night, I looked up at the pipes, and I was like, 'Whoa, this is actually disgusting.'"
After a series of emails from Residence Life, Jacobs and Howard were given just a few hours to move to the Global Neighborhood.
"We had to move in the rain by ourselves," Howard said.
Jacobs used her car to make the move to Global. The next day, her car was towed because she parked in a faculty spot.
But when they returned to their Virginia dorm to get more of their things, they were surprised by the conditions.
"We realized that everything had been taken off the walls. All of our stuff had been thrown under tarps, thrown in bags, all mixed up. We had no way of getting things that we needed," Jacobs said.
"I couldn't locate things, which was nerve-wracking. So I'm like, 'I need this now, and I can't find it,'" Howard said.
One of Howard's biggest frustrations was that everything in her closet was wrapped in bags and taped up.
Director of Residence Life MarQuita Barker sent an email statement to Elon News Network on Monday, Oct. 22. She wrote, "Eight students were temporarily relocated for cleaning and air quality testing. We expect them to be back in their residences by the end of this week."
Barker also sent an email to residents of Virginia stating, "With the humid air this fall, if residents left windows opened and turned their thermostat down, cold water passing through the systems creates condensation and a wet surface that forms ideal conditions for mildew. We will be inspecting all vacant units for mildew ... and will be cleaning them (if needed)."
Owen Covington, director of Elon News Bureau, said in an email statement to ENN that the windows in Virginia Hall were replaced in the summer of 2017.
He also said that a renovation of Virginia has been scheduled for this upcoming summer. It will be similar to the Sloan dorm renovation — new windows, bathrooms, paint, carpet and air handling — and will include new furniture.
But for now, Residence Life's website has a page that provides tips for students who live in dorms prone to mold and mildew. Students are encouraged to submit "FIXit" requests when they see mold, use a fan when taking a bath or shower and avoid letting water sit for long periods of time.
But Jacobs said she does not think the tips are enough.
"The communication throughout this whole process has been very poor. I don't think it was handled correctly at all," Jacobs said.
And it was more than just their belonging that were contaminated — both roommates have experienced health problems this year.
"We thought it was just, you know, freshman year you move in, everybody's sick, you get sick. ... The Elon plague, you know, everybody talks about," Jacobs said. "And then we realized that ... we were sick, and we were consistently sick for a very long time."
Howard's advice to those who go through a similar problem is to not do it alone.
"Get your parents involved, ask them everything that's going to happen to your room, because they did not disclose everything," Howard said.
Jacobs said she did not expect her college career to start this way.
"I told my mom, I was like, 'I love this school so, so much. And the fact that this is happening to us right now, in our first year, first few months, is making me so sad and disappointed,'" Jacobs said.
"I would never expect something like this from Elon University, and it's happening, and it's kind of hard to believe," Howard said.
The roommates said they plan on making a list of all their personal expenses and damages and presenting it to Residence Life.
If they are not compensated, Howard said there are other ways the university could make this right.
"Help. At least helping us move back into our room," Howard said. "And I really, right now, just need support or something from the university."