University Village near Temple is improving trash collection

A viral TikTok showed trash pileups in a hallway in the apartment complex located near campus.

American Campus Communities, the company that owns University Village, sent out an email to all residents on Sept. 29 detailing the steps they are taking to address trash pileups. | KAITLYN JEFFREY / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University students living at University Village apartments, located on 10th Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue, are experiencing improved maintenance and trash removal after the off-campus residential building went viral on TikTok for trash pileups on all six of its floors in September.

In response to the overflows, American Campus Communities, an Austin, Texas-based company which owns University Village and 200 other student-housing communities across the United States, sent an email to all residents on Sept. 29 apologizing for the pileups. The email also detailed plans to add additional maintenance support, hire clean-up crews to clear the pileups, add pest control and hire cleaning and sanitation vendors to clean the floors near the trash rooms, according to the email obtained by The Temple News.

The extent to which each plan has been implemented remains unclear because American Campus Communities and University Village declined a full interview with The Temple News. 

“We take responsibility and apologize to our residents for this temporary issue, which has been resolved,” wrote Kate Lowery, media relations representative for American Campus Communities, in an email to The Temple News. 

Nevertheless, residents are now seeing some improvements in how University Village is handling their trash disposal. 

Each trash room receives extra daily attention and is emptied more frequently, said resident Jack Hewitt, a sophomore mechanical engineering major.

“The trash rooms are a lot neater than they were before the problem, like the bins that you throw your trash in are never overflowing,” Hewitt said. 

The floors in each trash room were cleaned after the buildup and the rooms are now sanitized, said resident Kemarte Jefferson, a sophomore exercise and sport science major. 

“The trash rooms are a lot neater than they were before the problem,” Hewitt said. ”Like the bins that you throw your trash in are never overflowing.” 

Shortages in building staff, an abundance of packaging due to students moving in at the start of the fall semester and delays in waste pick up caused the pileups, Lowery wrote. 

Students were forced to put their trash in the hallway because the trash rooms were filled with bags and overflowing the room’s capacity, said resident Sierra Michael, a sophomore mathematics major. 

“It was such a bad issue,” Michael said. “It was like a week of trash being thrown into the hallway.” 

University Village residents were experiencing issues with trash disposal throughout the month of September, 6ABC reported.

A resident posted a video on TikTok documenting large piles of trash in a University Village hallway on Sept. 26, three days before the apartment complex’s apology email. The TikTok post received more than 189,000 likes, more than 2,500 comments and more than 4,500 shares. 

“I don’t think it would have been cleaned as quick as it was if it wouldn’t have went viral,” Jefferson said.

Temple contacted American Campus Communities in an effort to get the cleanup resolved as quickly as possible, said Stephen Orbanek, a spokesperson for the university. The university did not lend any maintenance staff to help in the cleanup because the building is not owned by the university, he said. 

Residents of University Village dealt with trash pileups in the past, but only when students were leaving the building at the end of the semester, said two-year resident Darrell Walton, a junior sport and recreation management major. 

“It was atrocious, to be honest,” Walton said. “It’s normally not like this.”

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