Source of Foul Odor on Campus Identified


Unpleasant smells that waft around the dorm area have been noticed since the beginning of the year, but it seems the source of the stench has remained unknown…until now.  While everyone on campus is having a hard time putting their finger on what exactly the scent resembles, the Southern Oregon Yik Yak responded with answers that agreed it was certainly not roses: “death,” “rancid pepperoni,” “sulfur,” “day-old sh*t from someone who only eats kale and black beans.”

One commenter went as far as to say the smell was like “boiled hot dogs and sadness.”

Sadness may be a subjective scent that resonates differently within each of us, but the disgruntled mood residents share when taking in this aroma seems universal.

“It really starts my day off on a bad note,” said freshman resident Aden Cador.

Apparently, the smell is strongest between parking lot one and the Hawk on warmer afternoons. Although this time has been recorded as the worst for the stench to travel towards the living area, residents also report that sometimes they are greeted by the smell upon entering The Hawk first thing in the morning.

Eliot Blythe, another resident in the dorms said that the smell can ruin his day in just a few seconds. “Sometimes I wake up, full of happiness.  Then I walk by The Hawk and the smell sucks all my joy and optimism out of me.”  The freshman has had to deal with the smell since he enrolled at Southern Oregon and considers it to be one of the few downfalls around campus. “It’s like wading into an ocean,” he continued, “except instead of water, it’s just a terrible smell.”

There were some thoughts that the smell might be from the septic tanks that are used by the living commons. Keith Beed, the Utilities Supervisor of the campus Facilities Maintenance Program, says that this is not the case since all sewage from the dorms flows right into the city’s system.

“I’ve only noticed the smell since the new dining facilities came in,” stated head cross country coach Grier Gatlin. Being that his office is located in the McNeil building, he lies in a direct path of the odor.

However, on Tuesday Drew Gilliland released a statement from FMP saying that the smell appears to be coming from a vent pipe directly on top of The Hawk.  When the wind hits the building it can bring the smell right into the walkways around the dorms.

Beed has found carbon vents online that could be installed to filter out the smell and is looking into ordering some in the near future.  Also, the FMP believes that the grease trap in the loading dock area might be backing up and contributing to the smell. “We are looking into installing ‘baskets’ on the drains as it appears too much material (paper, plastic, etc) is washed into the drain when cleaning the area,” said Gilliland.

Until the proper adjustments to the facilities can be made, the smell will linger, but FMP is hopeful they can correct the problem so that students, like Blythe, will no longer have to drown in misery when going to get a meal.