Good Morning -

We hope that you are well and having a good semester! As you know, Wake Forest is committed to the health and safety of all students. The Office of Residence Life and Housing is dedicated to providing a healthy campus living experience for our students. Because our office has received several questions about the potential for mold in some residence halls, we wanted to keep you updated on how we handle environmental concerns.

The Office of Residence Life and Housing continues to work closely with our partners in Facilities and Campus Services as well as Environmental Health and Safety to ensure that we are responding to any reports of possible mold in a timely manner. The FAQ provided below explains the process used if suspected mold is reported. 

As a preventative measure, Facilities and Campus Services staff will begin inspections in the Bostwick and Johnson residence halls at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29. Inspections will continue on Wednesday, October 30 and Thursday, October 31.

The inspection teams will check all spaces (bedrooms, common areas, and bathrooms) in each residence hall. Any issues that are found during these inspections will be addressed in accordance with the University’s mold management plan

We are sharing the following questions and answers in order to keep students and their families up to date. It is important to remember that mold spores can exist anywhere, are naturally present in the environment outdoors, and appear indoors for many reasons. The EPA reports that "there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture."

If after reviewing the FAQ below you have questions or health concerns, contact or visit the Student Health Service or your primary care provider. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at housing@wfu.edu or 336-758-5185

Best -

Zach Blackmon, Ph.D., MBA
Associate Director of Operations
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What should a student do to report mold?
A. If a student thinks there is a mold issue in their room, they should i mmediately contact Facilities & Campus Services ( 336-758-4255 or workorders.wfu.edu ). Students may also choose to notify the Office of Residence Life and Housing ( housing@wfu.edu ) in addition to notifying Facilities & Campus Services. 

Q. What happens when a student reports mold?
A. 
  1. Staff members trained to identify and assess mold quickly and promptly check the area in question. 
  2. If mold is found, the University’s mold management plan is activated by Facilities and Campus Services. Developed in conjunction with third-party industrial hygienists, all practices in the plan are in line with guidelines provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  3. Wake Forest has several methods of responding to reports of mold growth, in accordance with the University’s Mold Management Plan:
  • Affected areas are cleaned and treated with products that have mold inhibitors.  
  • When mold growth requires complex or sizable (greater than 10 sq ft) remediation, the University worked with an approved third party abatement contractor to address the issue.  

Q. Is Wake Forest experiencing more issues with mold than in past years?
A.  No. The University has spent significant resources to address the issues of mold growth due to environmental and moisture intrusion issues. 

Q. Are more students sick this year than in past years?
A. Student Health Service frequently sees patients concerned about common seasonal illnesses such as the flu, “stomach bugs” and respiratory illnesses that might affect their ability to keep up with academic commitments and social activities. The Student Health Service tracks these illnesses closely and looks for any meaningful trends. Following a review of illnesses to date, there are no notable differences between this year and past years. Further, there is no notable difference between our South Campus communities. 

One of the challenges of being a student on a college campus is exposure to illnesses among friends, classmates and hallmates. Communal living environments – as well as busy, active lifestyles – contribute to college students’ risk of contracting common contagious illnesses. 
  
Q. Has Wake Forest taken a look at how other schools address mold?
A. Yes. Wake Forest has been in contact with several universities and learned that our procedures are similar to theirs or, at times, exceed theirs.
 
Q. Is mold an allergen?
A. Mold produces allergens, but like any other allergen, exposed individuals will respond differently. Some may have no reaction, others may experience hay fever-type symptoms, while others may experience more significant symptoms.  It is important to keep in mind that many students new to North Carolina will experience seasonal allergy symptoms , even without a prior history of this condition. Symptoms typically will arise during the first or second year at Wake Forest. Having never experienced problems with seasonal allergies, many students may attribute these symptoms to a sinus infection or become concerned that there is mold in their residence hall.
 
Q. Are there government regulations governing how the University must treat mold?
A. Mold is not regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Mold is a natural byproduct of various conditions, often occurring in warm and moist environments where there is abundant vegetation such as trees, landscaping plants, and ground coverings. According to the EPA , mold cannot be totally eliminated in the environment unless extreme measures are taken constantly, as would be the case in a “clean room” laboratory.
 
Q. What might contribute to indoor mold growth, such as that found in some locations on campus?
A. Indoor sources for mold may be leaking pipes, standing water, damp clothing or towels and condensation in the area. The University is equally concerned about finding the source of the mold as it is in cleaning the mold.  If mold can be prevented by taking certain steps, the University does so.
 
Q. What are some recommendations the University has made to students to reduce the likelihood of mold growth in their living area?
A. Some recommendations, shared with students via informational email: 
  • Do not open windows while heating or cooling units are operating. This will cause condensation and may contribute to mold growth. 
  • Do not place furniture or other items in front of heating and cooling units that can obstruct airflow. 
  • Do not place potted plants or any other source of moisture on or around heating and cooling units.
  • Set thermostats no lower than 70 degrees when cooling and no higher than 74 degrees when heating your room, fans should be set at low speed. 
  • Do not leave wet or damp clothes, towels, or shoes in closets. Set them out on a drying rack until completely dry. 
  • Please empty your trash on a regular basis; do not let trash accumulate in your room. 
  • Do not use foam mattress pads on your bed, as they do not allow air circulation between the pad and our waterproof mattresses.
Office of Residence Life and Housing | Wake Forest University
336-758-5185 | housing@wfu.edu | rlh.wfu.edu