What are Minnesota private colleges doing about the heat?


In light of the heat hitting students at MSU-Moorhead, I asked officials at some other colleges about their situations.

Sounds like hot dorm rooms are pretty common. It’s expensive to put air conditioning into old buildings, campus officials say, and the heat doesn’t last long enough to make it worth the cost.

Carleton College spokesman Eric Sieger told me none of his residence halls are air conditioned. Carleton doesn’t start school until mid-September, and it doesn’t have a summer session.

Right now, though, the campus does have five athletic teams preparing for the coming season.

He wrote me:

It’s been hot and uncomfortable in the dorms, according to my players. … The college opened our campus center, Sayles-Hill, which is air conditioned, and the students were allowed to sleep on the floor in Sayles-Hill. Coaches have been altering practice schedules, encouraging students to stay hydrated and take breaks, and seek out air conditioning in Sayles-Hill and other parts of campus during down times.

Spokesman Lance Schwartz of Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato said newer residence halls have A/C, but about half of the college’s students live in old dorms that have none.

He wrote me:

Res-halls that do not have air conditioning in individual rooms do have public spaces with A/C where students can seek relief. Ice-water stations have been placed in res-halls. Coolers with ice have been made available. Additional fans have been brought in.

Additional spaces in res-halls (larger un-occupied rooms) are being cooled with window AC units.  Students are welcome to seek relief in these rooms.

College of St. Benedict spokeswoman Diane Hageman said her campus came up with this neat idea:

(We’ve had) sprinklers running so students could run through them and cool off. We did it yesterday only from 3:30 – 5 p.m. but it was such a big hit, that we are extending it to the same time frame for today-Friday.

St. John’s University spokesman Michael Hemmesch — where about a third of the students have A/C — relayed this message from Dan McAvey, director of residential life and housing:

We are keeping some air conditioned buildings open overnight … Students are taking full advantage of the beach on campus!

Tad Dunham, communications coordinator of Concordia University – St. Paul, wrote in that about a sixth of the student beds aren’t cooled:

(We’ve) brought in extra fans, distributed heat tips via email, informed residents of areas on campus that have AC and have provided an option to sleep in Hyatt Village, an AC’d  hall that is not fully occupied for this hot stretch. (22 students took advantage of this option.) Free water bottles were also handed out …

 Bethel University Director of Communications Suzanne McInroy said about a quarter of students have no cooling, though student summer housing is in air-conditioned buildings. Bethel officials are taking measures similar to those mentioned above, and dispensing advice on how to stay cool.

Just as at MSU-Moorhead, colleges such as the University of St. Thomas have this to say about students bringing window air conditioners:

tweetI believe it’s because of the the power drain.