Council advocates heating efficiency
The Douglass Governing Council aired gripes and suggestions Tuesday night in the Douglass Campus Center regarding climate control in campus dormitories.
Louisa Mazza-Hilway, class of 2013 council representative, authored a resolution to be sent to Residence Life regarding the campus' Katzenbach and Woodbury-Bunting Cobb Residence Halls' lack of central air or manually controlled heating.
Mazza-Hilway, a Katzenbach resident, said high temperatures in residence halls melt students into states of lethargy, which can cause dehydration, fainting, loss of drive and lack of sleep.
"You're there a lot of the time and so it's an issue of personal comfort," said Mazza-Hilway, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. "You come to college, and all of a sudden you don't get any sleep, you might not be exercising or eating as well as you were, and I think it makes it much harder to sleep when you're so uncomfortable."
The rooms in Katzenbach and Woodbury-Bunting Cobb often exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring and summer months and are unnecessarily hot in the winter months, which is not environmentally friendly. Open windows do not always compensate for the lack of air conditioning, according to the resolution.
Representative for transfer and nontraditional students Irina Ushakov said the resolution is about promoting efficiency.
"We're not looking for a realistic gutting and overhaul of the entire residence community here because that would be impossible," said Ushakov, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. "But it would be nice to have a tune up of the heating system to make sure that it was efficient."
Many other halls have air conditioning, like Voorhees and Perry Residence Halls, Newell Apartments on Cook campus and Henderson Apartments on Douglass campus. But Katzenbach and Woodbury-Bunting Cobb Halls are still without it, Mazza-Hilway said.
Installing air conditioning in halls could be costly as housing fees might spike. But the installation could be worthwhile, she said.
"I guess it depends on the degree of an increase," Mazza-Hilway said.
She said if cost is the issue with installing air conditioning in older halls, students should still have some say in when and how the heat is cranked.
"I think if we could talk to somebody about lowering the heat in halls, or just talk to somebody about shutting it off," Mazza-Hilway said. "I'm sure that would make quite a difference."
Many prospective students come to spend the night on Douglass campus, and the uncomfortable conditions could possibly steer them away, causing a loss in revenue, she said.
Council President Jennifer Kanyamibwa, a Douglass College senior, and Ushakov said overheated classrooms are also an issue, negatively affect professors' teaching and health.
Rutgers University Student Assembly representative Diana Guzman said the lack of air conditioning in classrooms is a problem, but residence halls remain a greater concern.
"The amount of time that a student spends in their classroom is definitely way less than they spend in their dorm rooms," said Guzman, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.
The resolution will be finalized at the last official meeting of the council this semester, on April 20 at 7 p.m. at Trayes Hall in the Douglass Campus Center.