On Wednesday, Oct. 2, junior Katie Orton noticed a terrible smell coming from her dorm.
“It smelled like something had died,” Orton said.
Orton opened her window, turned on her fan and oil diffuser, but nothing seemed to get rid of the smell. It got increasingly worse throughout the day.
On Thursday, Oct. 3, Orton visited Jenna Baltzer, Augustana’s assistant director of Campus Life for housing operations, to ask if she also smelled it. Baltzer said the smell was masked by the diffuser in the room and notified Laura Schmit, Augustana’s assistant director of Campus Life for East Hall, about the situation.
After Baltzer left, Orton contacted her viking advisor Sara Telahun Birhe.
Telahun Birhe said she arrived at Orton’s dorm and noticed the smell faintly but asked the on-call viking advisor Katie Johnson for help. Johnson noticed the smell, too.
“It smelt bad in the hall and seemed to get worse the closer we got to [Orton’s] room,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she called Schmit about getting Orton a new room for the night due to the smell’s increasing foulness.
Schmit said she looked into other available rooms and moved Orton into Granskou Hall for the night.
“I just took a look at what rooms were empty for the semester and got a key for [Orton] to use for the night,” Schmit said.
On Friday, Oct. 4, Campus Life told Orton to go to class as normal. Campus facilities sent a maintenance crew into Orton’s room to remove the smell.
At 2 p.m. that day, Orton was once again contacted by Campus Life and told the source of the smell, a dead animal, had been removed.
She was not told what the source of the smell was; it still remains ambiguous as to what animal the smell originated from.
A possible explanation for the smell comes from the East Hall bat-proofing construction efforts that took place the previous week on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Bat sightings around East Hall increased this year in comparison to previous years, according to Corey Kopp, Augustana’s director of Campus Life.
“This year, we had 17 or more [reports] within the course of just a couple of weeks,” Kopp said.
Augustana hired a company called Nice Bats, a subsidiary of Woods Roofing, to decrease the bat sightings around East Hall and to keep the bats away, according to Baltzer.
Augustana first contacted Nice Bats in early September.
“They said it was a simple plan: [the Nice Bats’ workers] are going to close up some of those holes. They create one-way exits so they can’t get in anymore, but the bats can still leave,” Baltzer said.
The construction took close to a day to complete, according to Baltzer.
Orton thinks the temperature on Oct. 2 contributed to the smell. According to The Weather Channel, the record high for Oct. 2 was 92 degrees.
Orton’s room connects to the Old Main building, and opening the window increased the smell, according to Orton
This was Orton’s first year staying in East Hall.