Seventy-five students were evacuated from Smith Hall at 1:30 a.m. Saturday due to a water pipe leakage.
Student possessions were ruined, rooms were left under as much as a foot of water, and students were inconvenienced when they were forced to find accommodations in the middle of the night.
According to sophomore and Residential Assistant Tim O’Keeffe, who was called to work in Smith at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, students were evacuated from the building and were not able to return until noon on Saturday to collect their possessions and assess damages.
Students were asked to keep a detailed and itemized list of ruined items for their family insurance agents.
In an email sent to the entire student body, Director of Residential Life Wendy Piper stated that a burst pipe in Smith East led to flooding on the second and third floors.
Twenty rooms in the northeast section of the building were affected.
The Offices of Public Safety, Buildings and Grounds, Housekeeping and Residential Life (ResLife) worked through the night Saturday to clean up the mess. Members of these offices were joined by the ResLife staff Saturday morning.
Common spaces in Smith Hall were filled with student belongings Saturday afternoon as students sifted through their waterlogged possessions.
The laundry rooms were full of students drying wet clothing. RAs walked throughout the two affected floors advising residents on what to do with their possessions.
Senior Christina Tierney, junior Sophie Lewis and O’Keeffe were three of the RAs called in to work at 8:30. All three felt tired after a long morning of assisting residents but thought the situation had been handled well.
“I don’t think that it was something that could have been prevented,” said Tierney.
She felt as though the residents she assisted were understanding throughout the process. “Residents understood the magnitude of the situation,” said Tierney.
Some residents, however, were disgruntled as to how the university handled the situation in the early hours of the morning.
“I feel like the school didn’t organize things properly. You had to bang on friends’ doors to ask for a place to stay and we had to ask each other what was going on,” said freshman Angie Herman. “The RAs were nice though.”
Sophomore Will Pallillos described the situation as “crappy.” He was upset that he did receive a call or text to notify him he was safe to reenter his room after being forced to leave at 1:30 a.m.
The ResLife Office and Buildings and Grounds declined comment.