If you haven’t heard, St. Mary’s College of Maryland is having a housing problem. According to the Cruise Log in USA Today, this small liberal arts college chartered a 301-passenger ship, the Sea Voyager, for displaced students. The students had to leave two on-campus dorms due to mold inside the dorms and now more than 200 students will now call the Sea Voyager home. The strain of mold found is the penicillium/aspergillus group, two of the four most common indoor varieties. According to the Washington Post, the cost of chartering the cruise ship is no more than having students stay in a hotel. Besides, it is more convenient especially for those who had hoped to be living close to the water. Now they will have the opportunity to live on the water. The cost to rent the ship is less than $20,000 a day while the cost for the mold clean-up will be as much as $1.5 million.
Perhaps one could call the mold incident serendipitous since the Sea Voyager was for sale and headed for Virginia. It was as if the planets aligned at the exact moment that students were complaining of feeling ill. How many college students get to live on a cruise ship during college? The irony of it all is that it does look somewhat like an old college dorm with dated furniture and decor so parents shouldn’t worry that their kids are on a booze cruise. Believe me, after you look at the pictures you’ll know there won’t be much partying going on when Susie and Bob are sitting on what looks to be grandma’s couch.
Due to “significant weather in the Atlantic Ocean,” according to Dr. Urgo, the school’s President, the Sea Voyager won’t arrive in Chesapeake Bay until Sunday, October 30 or Monday, October 31. Students were asked to begin packing and be ready to ship out. Students have the option to live on the ship, stay in other on campus housing, or move into a hotel. Since 350 students had already moved into hotels, I am curious as to how it was decided who moved into the hotel rooms vs. having the choice of living on the ship.
When college is about studying, making friends, partying, and so on, I’m sure no one imagined living on a ship after finding mold in the dorms. This most definitely will be an experience to remember for these students. If you know of a student moving onto the Sea Voyager, have them contact me because I would love to ask them lots of questions!