By Aedan Richter | Staff Writer

Overheating and lack of sleep are some of the issues with having no air-conditioned dorms on campus. (Courtesy of US News & World Report)

Living on campus for the third year in a row, I must say I really do love it. The dorms have become my home away from home. I have next to no complaints about my room or building. The only major complaint I have, though, is against the lack of air conditioning in Augustine Hall where I have been living for the past two years.

Having no AC might not seem like such a big deal for a school in Northern California, but it really is. This past school year was record-breakingly hot, and for the week or two of 100+ degree weather, I thought I was going to die—and I’m from Texas. There was no escaping the heat. Because classrooms were, and currently are, air conditioned, it wasn’t bad being in class during the day. But at night, once I got back to my room,  it was impossible to sleep. You couldn’t even take a cool shower to bring your body temperature down because the water was hot, too.

Augustine does not even have ceiling fans to circulate the air around the room, so you’re stuck with floor fans. No matter how powerful they are or how many you have, it’s just hot air being sucked into them and getting blown back on you. Plus, we’re all living in pretty small rooms with our doors shut, cutting off circulation between rooms and the hallways.

As a first-time Resident Advisor (AD), I felt so bad for my residents because it was the worst first impression of Saint Mary’s. They kept asking me with concerned faces if this is what it was always like. Everyone was overheated, and I was so afraid people were just going to drop out of Saint Mary’s. It’s already hard enough to start at a new school away from home, but then to have to deal with intense heat and no sleep is too much. I was struggling, and this is my third year on campus. The first few weeks of school are too stressful when compounded with heat exhaustion.

Some might say, “Well, this is really only an issue for the first and last couple weeks of school.” Think again. When it rains, I have to keep my window shut because there is no awning and the rain pours into my room, turning my desk into a lake. This means my room gets no fresh or cool air, so it eventually becomes stuffy and stale. It’s terrible coming inside from the cold to a hot, ripe room with no fresh air. To me, this screams breeding ground for fungus and mold to grow. The school should at least implement air exchange boxes for situations like this. It really can’t be healthy.

For how much we pay to live on campus, the school should really look into getting air conditioning. The lower townhouses have air conditioning, which just doesn’t seem fair for other residence halls. Also, I don’t understand why there isn’t central cooling since all of the buildings do have central heating. It shouldn’t be that much harder to add in an air conditioning unit.

I know it’s probably a bigger project, and the school is always lacking the money for upgrades. But I think if students really stress that it’s a priority, maybe we can get it changed, especially if it’s going to keep getting so hot every year. We have to adapt and understand that heat exhaustion is a real issue that is too much to handle on top of packed school schedules. Students need to be able to sleep at night to be rested for the next day.

This article has 1 comment

  1. poosnaper reader

    Thank you for writing this! I couldn’t agree more. Temperatures during spring finals week on the second floor of the Agenos can rise to life-threatening levels, like 70 degrees celsius. I’m surprised there hasn’t been anyone who’s passed out with heatstroke. Perhaps a more apparent problem is the threat the extreme heat poses to our final grades as it impacts our mental functioning. Keep in mind that we live in a dry climate, so the 5-month long rainless period and year-round lack of any humidity also mean dehydration.

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