Some students at Goucher College have been given the option to sleep on cots or couches in public areas such as the library because their dorm rooms are so sweltering hot.
The school’s director of resident life, Lindy Bobbitt, sent an email to students in dorm rooms without air conditioning Wednesday night letting them know about the alternative sleeping choices during the heat wave that’s hit the Baltimore area this week.
“It's hot out, really hot out,” Bobbitt said in the letter. “And we know you are frustrated because who wants to sleep or study in a hot and uncomfortable room?!”
Bobbitt referred questions to media relations office.
A school spokeswoman at the Towson-based liberal arts college said about 80 students who live in an older dorm in single rooms are affected. The students knew there was no air conditioner when they signed up for the rooms, said Stephanie Coldren, Goucher associate vice president for marketing and communications.
“We are just trying to give those students options if they are uncomfortable and don’t want to use extra fans to have an alternative place to go,” Coldren said. “It is just unfortunate this heat wave is hitting us right now.”
Temperatures in the Baltimore area have been in the mid- to high-90s all week, with the heat index in the triple digits.
Students were told in the email that cots had been dropped off at the ath, short for the campus library Athenaeum.
“Generally, we discourage sleeping in the ath, but this week it is fair game,” Bobbitt wrote, “A limited number of cots have been dropped off and students are free to use them. Bring a blanket and grab a cot or a couch.
The Jewish student center Hillel is also available for students to sleep in.
“There are no cots, but feel free to use the couches,” Bobbitt wrote. “We just ask that you remove your items each morning so the space can be used during the day.”
Stimson dining hall was given as an option to hang out or study.
Hillel and Stimson were cool but empty at about 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
Zoe Johnson, a 19-year-old freshman from Georgia, said she wasn’t likely to sleep in such a public place. But she appreciated the sentiment.
She has two fans in her room, which she said makes it bearable. Some people have four or five fans, she said.
The bathrooms are the hottest, she said, but got better once someone opened the windows.
“I will tough it out,” she said. “I am from the South. I can handle it.”
Parker Taggard is a resident assistant at the dorm without air conditioning.
The dorm is known for being hot in the summer months, he said. A fellow resident assistant helped lead the charge to get school officials to offer alternative sleeping spaces. He is glad they obliged.
Taggard, a 19-year-old sophomore, might study in some of the spaces, but he doesn’t want to sleep in a public area.
For the most part, he said, using a fan has provided him enough relief. Only at one point did he get so hot that he sat directly in front of the fan.
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“I felt like I was baking,” he said.
Things will get better soon, he said.
“If we stick it out for the next few days, the dorm should be fine for the rest of the year,” he said.
Bobbitt said in the email the college had worked with public safety officials to identify alternatives. She thanked the students for being flexible.
“While we cannot control the weather or change the lack of AC in your room, we certainly understand this unexpected heat wave is causing some challenges in your living space,” Bobbitt wrote.
Coldren said that students had expressed gratitude for the options.
“We have gotten emails thanking us for making the options available because of this crazy heat wave,” she said.