In addition to the cold winters that come with attending Ohio State, the beginning of fall semester can be hot — the first day of class had a high of 92 degrees — especially for students living in Baker, Bradley, Canfield, Mack, Mendoza and Paterson residence halls. The reason is simple: no air conditioning.
The six halls are among the oldest on campus, some in use since 1923, according to Buckeye Stroll, an online campus tour by university libraries. Because the buildings were built to prioritize air flow and not air conditioning, nonreturnable fans were distributed to every room in the residence halls, totaling 1,050 fans that cost $15,225 in all, university spokesperson Dave Isaacs said.
The university and Undergraduate Student Government gifted box fans to students living in all residence halls without air conditioning in addition to the installation of air conditioning in certain common areas, Isaacs said.
Air conditioning systems have been installed in many common rooms and study areas of dorms without air conditioning. Isaacs said the lobby in Canfield Hall, three study rooms in Mack Hall and the music practice room in Baker West now have air conditioning.
Elyse Schemenauer, a second-year in international business and former USG committee representative for residence life and dining, is responsible for the box fan project.
Schemenauer said her inspiration for this project was her belief that all students living on campus deserve to have some form of cooling, especially due to the expenses students face, she said.
“If students are already paying so much money to live on campus, then we should have some form of air conditioning or cooling device that’s provided by the university,” Schemenauer said. “I just knew that was really important.”
Schemenauer said she not only hopes that her project cools down some students, but that it also saves them money.
Nathan Miller, a second-year in business and resident in Mack Hall, said that “going from heat into more heat” is difficult.
Emma Pauley, a first-year in health sciences and resident in Canfield Hall, said the box fan she and her roommates put in the window helped to improve air movement.
As for covering additional expenses, Pauley said she appreciates Schemenauer and USG’s gesture.
“It was definitely nice that they were able to provide that for us and kind of give us that extra thing that we don’t have to purchase,” Pauley said.
However, Schemenauer’s long-term goal does not end with the box fans.
“The master plan is for all the dorms to eventually have air conditioning,” Schemenauer said. “I’m happy that we were finally able to come up with a temporary solution, but we’re waiting for the air conditioning to be available in all dorms.”