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High heat hinders students' ability to learn

by brockportnews
Tue, Sep 11th 2018 09:00 pm

Across New York State, the State University of New York campuses struggle to keep cool during the beginning of the fall semester. Most of the schools only have one or two resident halls accompanied by a handful of educational halls with air conditioning. Some people are not as affected as others, but for a majority of The College at Brockport campus, the heat is getting to them. 

Some of the professors on Brockport campus are cancelling their classes due to the rising temperatures of the classrooms. The lack of air flow is one of the main reasons for these cancellations; students and professors are sitting in the stale, hot air with fans that only work to  push the hot air around. The heat is lost but the noise of the fans drowns out the voices of professors and the lectur is lost.

According to US News, “On average, a school year that was hotter by 1 degree Fahrenheit correlated to a loss of 1 percent of a year’s learning.” 

The heat prohibits learning in the classroom making it so that students have to choose between being able to hear their professor in order to actually learn or being able to tolerate the temperature of the classroom. The only break they may be granted is the possibility of a slight breeze that will occasionally come through an open window.

Holmes Hall is prime example of a non-air conditioned building that is on Brockport’s campus. Though the hallways have vents in them, which keeps it on the cooler side, but the rooms are often still full of warm air. That being said, the rooms do have large industrial fans in them and they do help to cool off the students.

Unfortunately, the down side to the size of the fan is that the noise it produces is loud and destracting to those in the room. The sound drowns out what the professor is attempting to say, so they have to either turn the fan off or yell their lecture at the students. In most cases, the fan gets turned off and everyone is forced to endure the heat.

The Seymour Union offers students refuge as it is one of the only air conditioned buildings on campus. However, on the weekend, the Union has both limited hours and limited services, which causes the cool reprieve that the building offers to be unavailable to students. 

Even the dorms, with exception of Thompson and Eagle Halls, lack air conditioning which makes living in the high-rises a tad difficult. However, those living in the Townhomes are fortunate, since they do have air conditioning located in each of the untis.

As soon as a student steps inside a dorm that lacks air conditioning, they immediately feel the oppressive heat.  Opening the window is the only release hoping that the wind shifts enough to allow the slight breeze to blow into the small rooms, while their multiple fans oscillate back and forth, pushing the warm air around the room. Unfortunately, especially on rooms located on the first floor of the buildings, the breeze does not come through.

Now that the weather is starting to cool off and students are catching a break from the heat, they can worry less about keeping cool and focus a little more upo n their studies. Also, a study from Harvard Kennedy School suggests that air conditioning could be the solution.

“Air conditioning in classrooms changes everything,” Gavel said. “[it] offset[s] nearly all of the damaging impacts of cumulative heat exposure on student achievement.”

Although the cooler weather is approaching, it does not mean that it is easy to beat the heat. The campus still needs more air conditioned buildings, and students can help make a change. 

Students can start petitions towards getting air conditioning in the dorms and other halls through the ECHO system, BSG’s new petitioning system. They can help raise money by coming up with fundraiser events like car washes, bake sales, etc. If students want a change they have to start somewhere, it is not just going to happen overnight.

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