(Photo courtesy of: Icehotel) “UMass Lowell students feel like they are staying at ice hotels with the temperature in most classrooms.”
Walking out of 95-degree Fahrenheit weather into a heavily air-conditioned classroom or lecture hall can feel like a gift from God. The cool breeze making its way out of the door behind you and into the sweltering heat is a catharsis unlike any other. At least, for 10 seconds. Your body soon acclimates to the temperature and all of a sudden you switch from sweating out of your eyes to shivering and wishing you’d brought more clothes.
The idea that the warmer it is outside the higher the air conditioning has to be turned up is a severely misguided one. If anything, the opposite is true. The air conditioning shouldn’t be on blast for 80-degree Fahrenheit weather — we all already know it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit out. We’ve dressed for it, putting on shorts, a T-shirt and forgoing the coats and long johns at home. But walking into rooms that are solidly below 50 degrees Fahrenheit makes you start wishing for the comforts of that fuzzy jacket you left hanging in your dorm room. And even if you use the power of foresight the next day to bring the jacket with you, you still have to deal with carrying it around in the heat, clutching a ball of warmth to your body since there’s no way you can put it on and walking faster towards the overpowering air conditioning of whatever building your next class is in. It’s difficult to prepare for New England weather.
When it’s hot out, the air conditioner should only set the temperature down to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It should still be warm in that room. When it’s cold out, the temperature should not be set too high — keep it within the bounds of the current fashion. The second it gets too far from outside, you run the risk of being “too cold” or “too warm”. This not only is very annoying and gets in the way of learning, but it also can be dangerous. Picture a student who’s dressed for the heat, stopping off at a nearby dining hall before they make their way to their next class when it suddenly starts raining hard. If they bite the bullet and fight the rain on their way to class, they’ll be rewarded with a freezing climate, exacerbating the issue of the cold, still-wet clothing clinging to their skin. This is a great way to get a cold.
I understand that the professors have little power over this. The councilors’ offices in Coburn all use the same temperature control, which turns off around 5 p.m., switching them from freezing to heat. But whoever the Mr. Coldmiser controlling this all is, I hope they will take the initiative to make slightly more comfortable classes, ones where we don’t have to die a little shivering while trying to focus on whatever lecture we’re attending. This will likely not at all be an issue in a month, but I already know that I’ll be complaining all over again once this pet peeve of mine rears its ugly head at the end of the spring semester.