Services Guide - P


Paint Odors

Paint fumesOur painters work year-round. Sometimes, paint work is scheduled during the semester in hallways, stairwells, lounges or other public areas of resident floors. We know from experience that some individuals are unusually sensitive to paint as it dries. Even by using fans and opening windows in the hallway, stairwell or lounge, some folks experience respiratory distress that usually causes them to avoid areas of fresh paint. But, since we don't know who may be sensitive, here's how we'll proceed when public area painting is planned for the residential floors.




Before We Paint.

At least one week in advance of any new project, we will post signs on the floors where we have scheduled public area painting to occur. These signs will announce our planned paint schedule and ask individuals who are unusually sensitive to paint smells to call us.

Once We've Started.
Call us if you're truly bothered by the odor. Based on our conversation with anyone who calls, we will try to coordinate our schedules so that the individual is inconvenienced the least. If necessary, schedules may be changed. If no accommodation can be reasonably reached, the painting of the selected area will be postponed and the residents of the affected floor notified.

Sign saying Your Stairwell is Scheduled to be painted


Just like your own home, residence halls have ample harborage for small insects and mice. Complaints we receive are given to our staff biologists. Often, however, the lifestyles of others may cause an insect or rodent problem in your space.

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a process developed by agricultural researchers about 35 years ago when chemical controls for farm insect pests began to fail. The IPM process relies heavily on inspection, problem identification, selection from an array of chemical and non-chemical control options and monitoring if and when control measures are taken. In our urban, residential setting, IPM practitioners have begun to replace the pest control applicators whose sole approach is to spray baseboards when attempting to solve many insect infestations.

Our least-risk approach to resolving pest problems often involves non-chemical, preventive methods such as screening, sanitation, trapping and structural modification. Not surprisingly, these methods also tend to result in long term problem resolution, thereby making the use of pesticides unnecessary. While our non-chemical methods can often be the safest, most effective and most economical, they often require your cooperation. For example, an exterior door with an effective door sweep can only keep rodents and insects out if it is not propped open and an insect screen can only keep mosquitoes and wasps outside as long as it remains securely in the window frame.

When we determine that a pesticide represents the best, least-risk answer to a pest problem, we select products and methods for their safety and effectiveness. Before we use a dust or liquid pesticide in your rooms or apartments, we may require you to leave that space for a certain length of time. At other times, the best resolution calls for a pesticide bait which we can place while you are present and leave in place indefinitely.

As part of our periodic building inspection process, we place 2" x 4" white cardboard sticky traps in and around buildings to monitor insect activity. You may find one of these traps in your assignment or in one of the public areas of your building when you check-in. If you happen to see one of these traps, you will be helping us by leaving the trap where we placed it so that we can develop a more complete picture of conditions in your building. When we leave these traps in resident spaces, we may ask the person assigned to the space to monitor the traps and phone us if they see an insect has been trapped.

Cartoon Mouse peeks out Roaches and Mice
Cooking in rooms, not removing trash, abandoned cardboard boxes, and pets do directly affect your chances of "sharing an infestation". Mice, on the other hand, seek shelter and come into our halls just as readily as they would want to move into your basement at home.

And did we mention food? Clean up after yourself. Store food in its packaging or use plastic bags. Roaches also travel inside sewer pipes, which is why our staff frequently inspect floor drains.

Wasp Wasps
Paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can occasionally nest above the outside of your window, either inside or outside the window screen. Not much can be done to prevent this but call x4-WORK to report these stinging insect nests. Keep your window closed until staff arrive.

Almost every year, we have cases of fleas and flea bites caused by residents' pets. We are usually able to trace the source of problems to individual residents and rooms. As cute and cuddly as cats or dogs may be, they often are the source for fleas you or your floor mates may get. You can well expect that feral cats that residents sometimes befriend from on campus will be carrying fleas.

Bug atop a hill Ants
You live in a ground-level room? Ants might be looking for inside accommodations or come calling for food. Call x4-WORK for our "travel agents" from Urban Biology, who can help your resolve this problem.

A flying bat Birds & Bats
Once they mistakenly enter an open, unscreened window, they can get trapped, panicked, and fly around looking to escape our halls.

Call x4-WORK for their ticket home. Our Urban Biology staff will attempt to trap these winged intruders and escort them from the premises.

After hours Response
After hours, we also use an outside contractor to perform these services. Until they or our staff arrive, try not to aggravate your guests. If clean up is required for any little gifts, the staff responding can also pick up what your guests left with you.

Do Your Part... Avoid Creating a Problem in the First Place !!!
Common sense is a lethal weapon against mice and bugs. Many roaches adore the living conditions created by their human neighbors. Mice just want to come inside.

We will probably always have an occasional insect or other animal pest, but call x4-WORK to report any signs of these unwelcome guests.

Power Out


Power Out? What about the Refrigerator???
From Cornell University's Cooperative Extension Service:

Keep the refrigerator and freezer door shut as much as possible. Food may keep for four to six hours in a full-size unit, less in a compact unit. Actual times will vary depending on your refrigerator.

Discard raw/fresh or cooked meat, poultry, fish and seafood;
meat-topped pizza; lunchmeats; soups; milk/cream, yogurt, soft cheese;
eggs and egg substitutes; cooked pasta, potato, rice and salad prepared from these; cream-filled pastries; any prepared or cooked foods if the temperature inside the refrigerator is above 40oF for over two hours.

Do Not Refreeze frozen food that has completely thawed unless it is well-wrapped hard cheese, butter or margarine; bread, pastry without custard filling; fruit or fruit juice that has taste and still smells good.

Most frozen foods may be safely refrozen if they contain ice crystals.

Most completely thawed frozen food that remains below 40oF can be transferred to the refrigerator for use within a day or two.

Discard partially thawed ice cream; it could be unsafe.

Questions about whether a food is safe to eat -- call

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Meat & Poultry Hot Line
1-800-535-4555 between 10 AM and 4 PM M-F

Discard packages/products showing signs of spoilage.
When in doubt, throw it out!

Public Area Paint

Do It Yourself� Paint Project

A dorm mural

No, unfortunately, we gave up long ago allowing residents to paint their own rooms.

We do allow, under certain conditions and with review and approval from university staff, groups of residents on a floor to paint a portion of their hallway or lounge walls. Traditional buildings only not suites and apartments. And glazed blocks in hallways cannot be painted over under any circumstances.

Interested residents should be prepared to develop a detailed sketch of the final design, identify colors, and list those residents who would do the actual work.

Resident Life community staff review the design sketch for content and appropriateness.  Residential Facilities staff review the design for color selection and the impact the design would have on the area. Colors can't be too dark, and the painted area cannot interfere with residents ability to evacuate in an emergency so don't work up a design with doors, windows or interiors that might tend to confuse individuals.

We supply all the paint, brushes, drop clothes, etc. You supply the labor, care and commitment. University staff will review the work and, at our option, will either accept or reject the finished work. If accepted, the art work can remain for a period of at least three years, barring unforeseen damage to the area or painting. Once the area requires total repainting, the art work will be primed and painted over to match the prevailing color of the area.

Interested??? Contact your community office