UM stinks… like mulch

A strange funk has been permeating campus recently, due to a pile of debris from Hurricane Katrina. The pile sits on a plot of land on the corner of Granada and Ponce de Leon boulevards that is owned by the University but was lent to the City of Coral Gables to aid in cleanup efforts, said Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs.

The smell, however, has gotten bad enough for students to notice it.

“It’s like a musky, damp, moldy smell,” Jeff Conrad, junior, said. “I can smell it any time I’m on that side of campus,” he said, referring to the area around the School of Business.

Austin Eck, junior, said he wonders how the smell doesn’t go away.

“I smell it walking to class everyday,” he said. “What’s taking so long? Is there a shortage of dump trucks?”

In fact, both the City and the University are working on it. According to Sarah N. Artecona, assistant vice president for media and community relations, the City is mulching and removing 28 trucks a day of mulch and should have the pile removed in two-and-a-half weeks.

“The pile is a result of City, University and community cleanup from Katrina,” she said.

The City of Coral Gables could not be reached for comment.

In the meantime, all students can do is cover their noses or walk faster towards fresher air.

“I was driving on Ponce with my windows down and I could still smell it,” Luciana Ribeiro, sophomore, said. “It’s horrible.”

The University is asking that students be patient while cleanup efforts wrap up.

“Please understand that in emergency situations like hurricanes, we need to come together as a team and help one another,” Artecona said. “While the mulch pile may have an odor, I hope we can endure for a while longer and be thankful the emergency was not worse, like our friends and fellow students in the Gulf Coast.”

Jay Rooney can be contacted at