Many students at Fairfield University look forward to the day when they can live down at the beach with their friends and party like animals.
But what these kids don’t realize is that not only do the student beach residents party like animals, they also party with the animals.
John Huydic, assistant director of solid waste and recycling for the town of Fairfield, acknowledges the pest problem down at the beach and attributes it mainly to the student population.
“There are definitely more (animal) complaints on Reef Road and Fairfield Beach Road than elsewhere in town,” Huydic said. “The kids attract the rodents because they do not properly contain their trash.”
“Once the kids go,” for the summer, Huydic said, “most of the complaints go.”
While class is in session, there is no shortage of student complaints. “It’s ridiculous the amount of money we pay to live at the beach in rodent infested houses,” said Lantern Point resident, Lindsey Pulito, ’04. At her house, there was a foul smell in the kitchen so they had to call in the Fairfield Fire Department. The firemen discovered a sizzling rat trapped behind the oven.
“Now our house is called the ‘Ratican’ instead of the ‘Vatican’,” said housemate Lindsay Sampson, ’04.
Not all critters cause problems. Mike Surprenant, ’04, resident of the Forgotten Path, has had a squirrel living in his attic since September. “I think our squirrel has a nice home,” said Surprenant. “He doesn’t give us a real problem so we leave him alone.”
Other student beach residents are not so forgiving of unwanted rodents, like Reef Road resident Kelly Suchowiecki, ’03. “Our house had a history of mice,” said Suchowiecki. She and her housemates “heard noises one night and freaked out,” so they decided to get a cat to keep the mice away.
Fellow Reef Road resident Kelly Murray, ’04, says that she is surprised that her house has a critter problem because they are so far from the water. She admits that she is unsure of what they are, but she calls them “pedes,” short for centipedes. “They are long with a lot of legs and a million antennae. They creep out of our heaters.”
Enticed by the beach yet?
Students should not feel alone in their wildlife dilemma. Year-round residents face similar problems, including Vince Biondi, Chairman of the Fairfield Beach Association, and resident of Fairfield Beach Road.
“Half of the problem is inevitable because of the water,” said Biondi, “and half of it is because of trash.” He has spotted muskrats, voles, mice, and skunks outside his home, and even trapped four rats this winter.
Biondi warned students to avoid skunks. “Don’t lean down to pet any pussy cats in the dark,” he said.
Arthur Leffert, the Director of Health of the Fairfield Town Health Department also feels that the students get what they ask for, but admits, “there are always rats along the coastline,” regardless of whether students are living there or not.
The pest problem for Fairfield students is not confined exclusively to those who live off campus. Townhouse and dormitory dwellers also experience their fair share of fauna.
Any pest problems on campus, especially in the townhouses, are probably due to the students lack of cleanliness, said Fran Koerting, The Associate Dean of Resident Life.
It seems as though no matter where you choose to live while attending Fairfield University, you just can’t escape the rodents. Even Tim Harper, ’03, the Co-President of the Student Beach Resident Association, has a pest problem. He often sees his “pet skunk” roaming around at night plotting to spray his beach house.
And if Harper could offer a bit of advice to both present and future beach residents? “Whatever you do, just don’t let the rodents ruin a good time.”
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