Ursinus College students have been anticipating an almost “normal” campus life this fall. The community breathed a sigh of relief knowing that administration and students alike would be completely in person, ready to enjoy what makes Ursinus feel like home to so many. However, it hasn’t just been home to the Ursinus community; it has also been home to the Collegeville yellow jackets.
The common spaces on campus are back in full swing, in-person for the first time in two years. The spectator sections at sporting events are filled with a sea of red and gold ready to cheer on student athletes. Rush Week brought out many students, too. However, in addition to students, yellow jackets were in attendance. Students struggled to socialize and enjoy their time outdoors during multiple outdoor rush events across all organizations, due to the constant buzzing and swarming from the unwanted guests. The yellow jackets have made themselves feel at home behind Reimert, porches of Main Street homes, Olin Plaza, and especially outside of Lower Wismer. The yellow jackets are far from shy, making it extremely difficult to enjoy a meal with friends or colleagues. The yellow jackets have limited the community’s ability to safely enjoy meals in a COVID cautious way.
Missy Bryant, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, has also encountered the yellow jackets during her event with the First Year Students outside on Monday, September 13th. “I hosted a ‘Mondays with Missy’ for first-year students on Olin Plaza on Monday. The event was about an hour, and we did experience visits from some yellow jackets in the area. Luckily everyone stayed calm and didn’t provoke the yellow jackets, so we carried on as usual,” Dean Bryant stated.
This issue is not simply isolated at the heart of campus. The female students that reside in Hobson Hall on Main Street were ecstatic to be back, but little did they know their house would be greeted with yellow jackets. Senior volleyball co-captain and resident of Hobson Hall, Olivia DeBonte, explained the issues she has encountered. “I have noticed the excessive bee problem on the Hobson porch. I am swarmed every time I exit with a drink or food in my hand. There was a nest on the overhang of the back porch.” Facilities was notified about the issue, but yellow jackets continue to gather on the back porch.
Reimert residents also feel threatened by the yellow jackets. From the constant swarms around trash cans and suite doors, Reimert residents expressed their concerns. “I live in Reimert and have started to see an increase in yellow jackets. When I go to class, they often swarm around me, and it’s extremely annoying. Some of my friends are also allergic to them, so it causes them some stress as well,” said junior Kyra Handel. Not only are students unable to enjoy their time in Reimert’s courtyard but the safety aspect of the yellow jackets is an increasing concern for those allergic.
Jenny Ronzoni, a Hobson resident, shares her concerns. “It’s unsafe going through the back door of Hobson. If I go to the back porch with food, I almost always encounter yellow jackets, and they have landed on me several times. I am highly allergic to bees and do not always carry an epi-pen or medication with me. I am living in constant fear leaving my own house at the risk of being stung and caught in an emergency situation.” This is an issue that requires urgent attention, as it is a huge safety concern for many students and full-time residents on Ursinus’s campus.
With the weather changing in the upcoming weeks, students look forward to the disappearance of the yellow jackets and enjoying Ursinus’ campus.