Pipe burst in Chestnut Hall laundry room brings attention to health issues in dorms

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On Nov. 12, an anonymous video post was made to Rowan University’s subreddit showing water pipes that had burst and were soaking the laundry room floors in Chestnut Hall, leaving a stench of feces and sewage. 

The Reddit post read, “Chestnut Hall, this is unacceptable the amount we pay for housing. It smells like sewer water.”

Luke Wojtecki, a first-year student at Rowan and a resident of Chestnut Hall, noticed that the pipes were slightly leaking and alerted the RAs of the small droplets coming from the pipes, hoping this issue could be resolved before it got worse.  

After about 40 minutes, Wojtecki’s friend told him that there was a serious issue in the laundry room when he went down to get his clothes. 

“It’s literally flooding. There’s a flood happening. And I go downstairs and three pipes burst and it looked like nothing had been done,” said Wojtecki.  

Students living in the residence hall were not made aware of the burst pipes until an hour after it happened, and eventually, maintenance came to fix it. However, this hasn’t been a singular issue, as the laundry room in Chestnut Hall has had multiple issues throughout the year. 

“That’s constantly been a problem down there with washers and dryers not working,” said Wojtecki. “I’ve spent well over $8 to $9 for one load of laundry because it’s constantly not working.” 

The three story hall, nicknamed “The Nut,” opened in 1984 and is home to predominantly first-year students. It can house up to 384 individuals but is without air conditioning. 

Due to the lack of central air, the temperature swings from being unbearably hot to freezing cold, creating a spot where mold can thrive. 

“It [the picture] was emailed, but nothing has been done yet. It’s a picture of mold on the shower curtain that has been there since we’ve gotten here and nothing has been done to it. A lot of kids on my floor have been getting sick and I wake up with stuffy noses. Sometimes I wake up sick. Whenever we turn on the heater, we get a smell of maple syrup,” said Wojtecki. 

Luke Wojtecki sent this photo of the moldy shower curtain in a complaint email to maintenance. -Photo / Luke Wojtecki

Residents are required to pay the same amount for housing as those living in dormitories such as Holly Pointe, which opened in 2016 and has central air. 

Former residents of Chestnut Hall like Chris Marcou, who is a sophomore at Rowan and lived there last year, stated that these problems have not been exclusive to this school year. 

“It was really inconvenient because depending on what the seasons were, it determined the room condition because you know there is no air conditioning,” Marcou said. “The heat dial was really dumb and we had occasions where the window and fire lights wouldn’t work right so we had to put multiple work orders in. It was just inconvenient because on top of school work, we had to worry about other issues the building may have going on and it was not the best.”

Although the water pipes were repaired in the laundry room, there are still many issues to address heading into the winter months to justly accommodate students staying in on-campus housing, especially at Chestnut Hall. 

Rowan University’s Office of Residential Learning & University Housing was contacted for comment but has not responded at the time of publication.

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