Discoveries from above

Freshmen Max Costello and Joe Vondrachek from Theresa Hall check their ceiling for items left by previous residents. Photo by Patrick Goodman.

A new year has begun at the University of Dallas. The incoming freshmen finished moving into their new homes and got acclimated to their new community. For most students, the transition was smooth and uneventful. However, for those with curious minds, unexpected surprises were lurking above.

Lots of  students took a quick peek under their bed or in their desk drawers or perhaps on the top shelf of their closet. But those few whose curiosities were not satisfied decided to climb up on their sink or desk and poke their heads in their ceilings, and they were rewarded with some unique discoveries.

In Madonna Hall, several students were roused to check their own ceilings when a resident made a particularly unsettling discovery. Stephen Parlette noticed something odd about one of his ceiling tiles. When he moved the tile to fix it, he noticed something was there. Parlette and his roommate James Allbritton discovered three empty bottles of cognac, an empty bottle of vodka, a soiled diaper and, if that wasn’t enough, a sex toy. No one had been expecting anything of this nature, and it shocked all the students who heard about it.

“We never thought about checking because we never thought there would be something up there,” Parlette said.

Everyone who heard about the event checked their own ceilings to ensure that their room was “clean.” Within minutes, more strange  discoveries were made. A few of the things found in Madonna were many more bottles of cognac, vodka and whiskey; assorted beer bottles and beer cans; a pair of underwear; a towel; and an electric Christmas tree.

Word spread like wildfire through campus and freshmen everywhere started checking  their ceilings, including Theresa Hall residents Sebastian Martinez and his roommate Michael Jurkoic. Among other things, they found a calendar depicting male models with baby animals.

“I think it was a girls’ dorm,” Martinez said. “At least I’m hoping it was a girls’ dorm.”

The discovery of all this unsettling and humorous content in the men’s dorms prompted a question. What is in the women’s residence halls? As the women’s halls were checked, a striking difference was noticed.

Unfortunately, Gregory Hall had been renovated recently and the ceiling tiles and insulation were replaced. There was nothing in Gregory Hall.

Jerome Hall was the last possibility for a girls’ dorm with secrets of its own. Indeed, there were items to be found in Jerome’s rafters, but they were of a completely different nature than anything found in the men’s dorms.

Claire Archer, a Jerome resident, found a box in her ceiling. This box contained motivational books, tea, uplifting pictures, wall ornaments, pencils, markers, yarn and other heartwarming gifts. Were these items left intentionally? Archer thinks so.

“They definitely left it,” Archer said. “Probably as they were clearing out, they didn’t want to take this stuff with them but saw that some of it is still useful.”

Upperclassman Dominic Del Curto said there is a tradition at UD of leaving behind meaningful items in ceilings for future residents to find.

“I have always seen it as a bridge between classes and a means to unify the student body.” Del Curto said.

Del Curto acknowledged that this can be used for good or bad, but he hopes that UD administration will not take away the freedom that students have to carry on this valuable tradition.

“I decided to leave a long letter of advice to the incoming freshman of Madonna 109,” Del Curto said.  “It was a cool spiritual experience helping some unknown freshman, and I hope the tradition lives on.”

Many UD students participate in this tradition in a meaningful way that makes a positive impact on the incoming class. From finding heartfelt advice to items meant to help future students acclimate to UD, this tradition could be very useful for all students. However, many also leave explicit materials in their ceilings that could pose risks to students.

While making these discoveries was fun, the fact that students are finding this manner and volume of items in their ceilings prompts serious questions. Why are these items there? Are the ceilings ever cleaned out? What would happen if a student discovered illegal materials and ignorantly used them, threatening themselves and others?

Surely, this issue will need to be resolved soon. However, the freshman dorm ceiling search was very funny and made for some hilarious and thrilling discoveries that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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