by Valery Jorgensen, Guest Writer
Rats are scurrying around the Anderson University Center. For the past few weeks, numerous students have reported rat sightings in The Commons dining area.
Erin McGinnis, director of dining services, said, “we know we have rats in the building. We have seen them in the seating area and we have seen them in the kitchen.”
News of the rats has spread through the student body. Sophomore Amy Delo said she heard about the rats because, “a friend posted on Facebook.”
With rodents making their home in the building, dining services is working on maintaining sanitary conditions for food preparation and consumption. “We are doing everything we can to make sure that they’re not getting into food,” McGinnis said, adding that it is “dining services’ job to keep the students safe.”
According to http://www.health.ny.gov/, rats enter buildings in a variety of ways, but primarily “through open windows, doors, sidewalk grates, or vents.”
“Once they get inside, it is really hard to get rid of them,” McGinnis said.
Students can help keep rats out of the building. McGinnis encourages students to “keep doors shut, keep windows shut and try not to drop food out in the seating area.” The seating area is very appealing, like a “buffet,” for rats, McGinnis said.
Dining services is working with Eden Pest Control to get rid of the AUC invaders. McGinnis said poison traps as well as traditional mousetraps have been set around the kitchen and the rest of the building. The poison traps “are secure and not a problem to have around food,” McGinnis said.
According to sophomore student worker Tiana Wamba, some students are opposed to the killing of rats. Wamba was working at the cash register during breakfast one morning when a rat scurried through the kitchen. She explained that while most students acted with disgust and were shocked to see a rodent in their eating area, another acted differently.
“One girl was crying and trying to save the rat,” Wamba said.
McGinnis said she understands why some students would prefer the use of humane methods, but said this is not an option for a restaurant. McGinnis said her biggest concern is making sure food and students are safe.
McGinnis said the poison traps are boxes which the rats enter to eat the poison. However, they can then exit the box. The poison works slowly and may take hours to kill them. McGinnis said she and other members of dining services “have seen some of them [the rats] acting weird and they become sluggish.”
Whenever they see one, McGinnis said, they call the pest control services to take care of it.
The pest control worker comes “often to check the traps and the last time he came none of the traps were full,” McGinnis said.
Pest control services told McGinnis that when it gets cold outside the rats look for ways inside. “Once they get inside and they find food there for one, they don’t want to leave,” McGinnis said. As they live inside they begin to breed inside.
McGinnis said the pest control worker “believes that the ones that he is catching now are a batch of juveniles that were probably bred inside somewhere.”
McGinnis said she hopes that by catching the young ones, more won’t be bred.
Dining services is “trying to stay on top of it as fast as we can and as best as we can,” McGinnis said.