Prosser takes a swim

Students evacuated as the building flooded

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Residents of Prosser Hall, one of two first-year dorms here at Muhlenberg, were disrupted on Tuesday, Apr. 2, at approximately 11:55 p.m., with a fire alarm that quickly escalated into a serious issue. Damage was done by a student to the second floor sprinkler which had caused water to leak out through the ceiling and flood the floor. Both the first and second floors of Prosser were affected by the flood, but all students, regardless of where they lived, were quickly escorted out of the building and told to stay in Seegers Union until the issue was resolved. 

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) communicated that they were alerted of the flood once Campus Safety was dispatched to Prosser Hall and observed the water coming from the ceiling. As soon as they were informed of the issue HRL and Campus Safety, along with Plant Operations and the Dean of Students Office, were on the scene in Prosser Hall addressing the situation. Groups were inspecting and assessing every room in Prosser, including the common rooms, while others were looking for ways to initially address damage and stop the water flow. Dehumidifiers and air blowers were run through the hallways to further dry the building. All areas were also treated with a hospital-grade disinfectant, which is used to prevent antimicrobial growth. 

While investigating the issue, it was confirmed that the flood was not sewage, despite speculations. Plant Operations removed ceiling tiles to access pipes and dry them faster. It has been communicated they are planning on replacing these ceiling tiles by the end of this week. Once the situation was fully assessed, the admin prepared for precautionary measures to be taken and began developing communications to Prosser Hall residents. 

At 1:55 a.m., an email was sent to residents from HRL informing them of the flood and a subsequent meeting in Seegers explaining the next steps. A following email was sent at 3:44 a.m., which outlined more basics about the flood and rules to be followed for the next day in terms of who is allowed in their rooms and when. 

All while the administration was inside Prosser addressing the situation, tired students sat in Seegers unsure of what would happen next. Natalie Preble ‘27, who lives on the second floor of Prosser, described the immediate interference that was caused while waiting in Seegers. “The flood really just disrupted the night,” Preble said, saying that she was simply doing her homework when the alarm went off. “Displacing us really late at night and the fear of not knowing what was going on was difficult to deal with.” Preble was one of the many who was nervous about the unknown. Some students weren’t even in Prosser when the flood began, and were notified by friends about what was occurring. 

Kirsten Ward ‘27 noted how she was coming back from rehearsal at around 12:30 a.m. when she heard the news. “I was unsure what to do,” Ward said, “It was a lot because your bed is like the one place you look forward to going to after a seven hour rehearsal and I couldn’t do that.”

Students who lived in the annex, third floor, or rooms 1101 to 1111, and rooms 1201 and 1211, were let back into their dorms after 2:00 a.m., but others were not as lucky. Jake Forstein ‘24, the Prosser hall director, lives on the first floor. They experienced immediate flooding in their room that left it so damaged they were moved to Martin Luther Hall, a mostly unused dorm building that previously housed sophomores and juniors and is now leased to local companies. Forstein is still living in Martin Luther Hall. “My room got the worst of the damage in the entire building,” Forstein noted, “with part of my ceiling collapsing and there being about two inches of water throughout the entire room.” He goes on to add that being a Resident Advisor (RA), his main focus that night was “making sure everyone was doing okay and providing support to professional staff as they were trying to control and secure the situation.” Thankfully, the administration has been working with Forstein to replace any of their damaged items, for which they are grateful.

Many have expressed concerns regarding the damage that the flood caused. Parts of the halls in Prosser have no ceiling tiles and one room is damaged to the point where it still cannot be lived in, all of which continues to disrupt the building’s residents. No answers were given regarding how much money the repairs will cost, but it does have students wondering what will be done. With more issues arising each semester regarding the building (problems due to faulty fire alarms were prevalent last semester) some question if Prosser will ever get the renovation many believe it deserves. Gabby Zickmann ‘27, who currently lives in Prosser, noted how the building has leaned into its “Dirty Prosser” stereotype with all of the disruptions it’s caused.

“With most first-years living in Prosser, you’d think it’d be nicer than it is,” Zickmann said. “Even though the flood was caused by a student and not the building, I hope it will maybe inspire some retouching. Everyone knows it needs it.” Regardless of what’s in store for Prosser, there is no denying the disruption that occurred Apr. 2. The flood created an exhausting night for both its residents and those who were assessing the situation, with some still living with the effects. 

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Emily Nally ‘27 is an English and creative writing major with a minor in English literature. She is an assistant editor for the Campus Voices section and is so excited to be a part of such an immersive organization on campus. Outside of the Weekly, you can find Emily rereading "Little Women," binge watching "Gilmore Girls," or being really cool practicing her flute and guitar.

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