PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Classes start Wednesday for students at Brown University, and for dozens of freshmen, the start of their college career is nothing like what they were expecting.
“College is an experience none of us have ever had before,” freshman Chiamaka Alino said. “For it to start with a flood … It’s kind of out of the blue.”
Monday’s intense rainfall forced dozens in a residence hall on Brown’s Keeney Quad to move out, not long after they had moved in.
“There was at least a couple of inches of water on the bottom floor,” said freshman Fara Odunlami, who described the situation as “chaotic.”
“It was coming in through the door pretty fast,” added Marcus Waller, who had just moved into the residence hall.
Waller said the water was up to their ankles.
“We just had to move our stuff out of the way as much as we could,” Waller said. “Then try to block off the door from getting more water in.”
Brian Clark, a spokesperson for Brown University, tells 12 News about 17 rooms were affected and approximately 35 students were temporarily displaced.
“The ground floor of Archibald Bronson Hall, a residence hall on Brown’s Keeney Quad, was impacted by the significant flooding in Providence yesterday when excess storm water breached lower-level entry points to the building,” Clark said.
Cleanup is now underway, though Clark said it will likely be a few days until the affected rooms will be usable again.
“As of Tuesday afternoon, water has been removed, spaces and furniture are being dried and dehumidified, and staff are monitoring moisture levels in the area as they work to return the rooms to usable status,” Clark said.
Some students are staying with friends in different rooms. Others were provided temporary housing, with some telling 12 News they were put up in a hotel for the time being.
“It was dark and wet and it was a little bit scary,” said freshman Lemuel Greaves. “You wouldn’t expect something like this from a university with such a large endowment.”
Students from other states said they are now worried about what could come next.
“Definitely a lot of anxiety about it happening again,” Waller said. “We’ve talked to previous students and it has happened in past years.”
“Rain isn’t uncommon, especially in this area,” Greaves added. “If every time it rains, people have to move to a hotel, then there’s an issue.”
Clark said long-term damage appears to be limited.
“Any wet items belonging to students (floor coverings, clothes, linens, books) have been gathered, inventoried, labeled and removed by a restoration contractor for cleaning,” Clark said. “They will be returned shortly and the university will cover all of those costs. The Brown Bookstore is replacing textbooks at no cost for all students who need them.”