“You’re Hot then You’re Cold” -Katy Perry @Dson

Olivia Shea ’20, Guest Columnist

Staying at Dickinson for fall break was supposed to be relaxing and de-stressing but on Sunday morning, I woke up to my room temperature being 79.5 degrees. I am a senior and I live in the High Street Residence on the fourth floor (of course to see the beautiful view of the mountains with the sunsetting in the west). From waking up in a sweat, I was puzzled and had to open my window to get some cooler air in my room.  I walked out to go to the bathroom and the hall thermostat read 80 degrees. To be one of the few people still in the building during fall break, I was concerned something had happened and regular facility staff was not working on campus. I called facilities with no answer then DPS who came to assess the situation. The DPS officer was very friendly, came to my room within seven minutes and evaluated my room air unit and the halls in the building. Unfortunately, there was not much he could do except put in a work order because the air system is locked with a key. 

That week the temperature outside during the day was between 70 and 80 degrees so the dorm rooms continued to be hot and stuffy, even opening the windows. I asked a few people in my dorm whether they felt the same in their rooms and all of us were concerned.  Since nothing really changed, I put in my own work order.  It was so hot in my room at about 80 degrees that I couldn’t sleep because I was so uncomfortable; I slept in a friend’s apartment for more than a week. I was able to reach the Facilities Director after four calls and she said that she would have someone get on my work order. The response of the work order was “There is no A/C campus wide. A/C will not be available till April 15 of next year. Heat is not available until we reached an outdoor temp of 48 degrees. Thank you for your understanding.”

On the following Sunday, the high street residence supposedly had a “gas leak” and after that, my entire air unit shut off so there was no air flowing throughout my room. Still being 79 degrees in my room, I became more upset because I couldn’t open my windows because lady bugs were flying to my window.  Of course, I didn’t want a ladybug infestation, so I had to keep my window shut.  I put in yet another work order demanding to get someone to put on the air because I couldn’t open my windows, so as not to create another problem with lady bugs, and there was no further action done by facilities. With the air temperature drop within a few days our building was able to cool down with the hall windows open.  Luckily now, my room is probably at a regular 70 degrees and I can sleep in my room comfortably.

I still do not understand why Dickinson College would preach sustainability when the heating and cooling systems frequently malfunction. Many buildings on campus are uncomfortably hot at the end of October when we don’t need the heat on at all (Maybe that’s the inner Northeastern in me, but my family didn’t turn on full heat till December).  Now, with buildings being so hot and the weather being much colder, it’s hard for our bodies to adjust and handle the changing temperatures so quickly walking from our dorms to classes.  Talking about this more with other students on campus, one apartment building was without heat for 24 hours and the temperature got down to 60 degrees. The representative from facilities was attentive and genuinely concerned about the lack of heat in the building and came to assess the system every two hours for the whole day. Clearly, some students’ rooms have been unbearably hot or unbearably cold. The people that worked to fix the situation were very kind and appreciated but the overall problem is a concern by many of the student body. Some level of consistency with student housing and academic building temperatures would be greatly appreciated from many on campus.