Issue: Heat response
Given that we live in South Dakota, we probably should have seen this day coming. God knows it gets really hot and really cold here and there’s only about four days in between the extremes, it seems. Maybe that’s part of the reason we’re surprised that the university wasn’t really ready to take on the heat.
From our point of view, it appears there was no preventative approach to handle excessive heat. Universities have plans for everything, so it was a little shocking to see SDSU out of position when it came to handling high temperatures and heat indexes. It was not until those aforementioned heat indexes reached dangerous temperatures that measures were taken by Student Affairs to cool things off, and it was a bit of a scramble. Temporary window air conditioners were brought in from as far away as Kansas City and Omaha and university staffers were installing them well into the night.
That said, SDSU should be commended for its work to alleviate the situation. They brought in about 900 air conditioners, which is probably unfathomable to the many alumni who have lived in some of these same buildings in the last 50 years, in places like Pierson, Brown and Waneta halls. Providing water, relocating students and providing air conditioners for the residence halls that do not have them proves that SDSU does care about the needs of its students. When SDSU’s worst nightmare regarding the heat actually came true, the school sprang into action.
Yes, the university has most of its buildings with air conditioning, including about half of its residence halls. And if you want that air conditioning, you can pay the extra $700 or $1,100 per semester to be a little bit more comfortable, have some more carpet and higher ceilings. But the 2,000 or so students living away from permanent AC probably got more than they bargained for when they agreed to live in some of SDSU’s older buildings.
And to this point, there’s still a boatload of unanswered questions. What is going to happen to the more than 900 air conditioners that the university has purchased? Where do you even keep all of these air conditioners? The ultimate question lies with the money. What was the total cost, and where did the money come from to purchase and install these units? Is this money coming from student fees or from students who don’t even live on campus? These are the questions that will ultimately need answers.
Which brings us to one final point: If SDSU is going to have school in late August – as early as August 20 in the next decade – and it’s still hot at that time of the year, maybe it’s time to consider air conditioning for those buildings that don’t have it. It’s not 1965 anymore, where you can put Johnny Jr., in a brick building and he’ll be able to put up with it. Right or wrong, we’re accustomed to comforts and air conditioning is certainly one of those and if people get hot and sweaty, they’re going to complain. Students and parents who spend good money to come here shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they’re going to get heat stroke while studying for Organic Chemistry or for us journalism students, Math 102.
Let’s at least weigh the options, before the next heat wave puts our campus on guard again.
Stance: SDSU cares for the well-being of the students, but some questions have yet to receive an answer.
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The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.