For many freshmen, the most difficult part of the transition to college has not been classes or heavy reading workloads, but dealing with the oppressive heat that seems omnipresent across the three first-year residence halls.
With the exception of the lobbies and a few important offices, the freshman dorms are not air-conditioned.
The heat within the residence halls is so heavy that even with multiple fans, students have difficulty studying and sleeping. The problem is exacerbated in east-facing rooms that warm with the sunrise, and in third and fourth floor halls that receive rising heat.
Complaints about the temperature and creative tips for keeping cool are popular topics of small talk.
Catherine Sinow is a resident of the third floor of Loomis.
“[The heat is] like a black car that’s been sitting in the Target parking lot for two hours,” she said. She also referred to taking drastic measures like arranging bottles around her bed to stay cool.
Fans have become a necessity for all students.
“We have four gigantic fans,” said freshman Huseen Sufi. “I have a fan on full blast right on my bed.”
The temperature surprised even students who come from warm states such as Hanna Bautz, a freshman from Kansas City.
“[The heat is] stifling and almost unbearable,” she said. “[Kansas City] is fairly hot and humid in the summer, but in Kansas we definitely have air- conditioning.”
For the heat-struck residents of Loomis and Mathias, much interest focuses on newly renovated Slocum. Sweating students wistfully repeat rumors that every room in Slocum is air-conditioned and students there often go to bed cold.
However, according to freshman Keise Mumin, these rumors are unfounded.
“In the rooms, it gets really hot,” said Mumin.
In fact, Slocum Residential Life Coordinator Christopher Casey explained that the hall does not actually use air-conditioning.
“We have what’s called semi-conditioned air,” Casey said. “We suck the air in and then process it through the building so it feels like it’s cooler.”
Loomis RLC Zak Kroger said there are currently no plans to add HVAC to the other freshman residence halls, due to the excessive inconvenience of the installation.
However, he conceded that this fall has been exceptionally hot.
“This is hotter than it usually is for longer than it usually is,” Kroger said. “It is an issue for the first week or two, but then it cools down.”
There is one silver lining to all the heat troubles. A strange sense of community has emerged thanks to the shared experience of sleeping with fans pointed at one’s face.
“It keeps the doors open, which clearly makes people bond,” said residential assistant Jay Combs.
For now, the freshman class must be content to simply await the first snow.