By Danielle Turner
February 7, 2013
When I was in high school, many of my teachers would tell me horror stories about college. One teacher told me that college professors expect you to read the entire textbook for their class and teach yourself all the material. Another told me that when she was once absent from class because of a funeral, her professor wouldn’t excuse the absence unless she could present a picture of herself with the dead body.
Despite these stories, my views of what my college education would be like remained optimistic. I knew that classes at Lock Haven University were small and personalized, and the teachers were interesting and devoted to their jobs. With this in mind, I came into college ready to learn and enjoy the experience.
But that didn’t turn out to be as simple as it once seemed. As I’m sure most people have noticed, it is nearly impossible to learn in a classroom so cold that you’re shivering to the point of hypothermia, or sweating so excessively you are floated off your seat. Freezing and melting seem to be the only temperatures Lock Haven’s AC units are capable of producing. I have seen professors wear winter jackets all through class, and sweat to the point that they look like they have just emerged from a swim in the Susquehanna River.
The real problem in this is that no one in the classrooms has control over the temperature; it is controlled by some mysterious outside source. I’m beginning to doubt that the temperature is controlled by anyone in this city, or even this state. The thermostat is covered by a protective plastic box, which makes me question whether it even knows what the classroom temperature is. Also, the vents are usually blowing at such excessive rates that the volume they produce hampers the hearing of any students within a two-row radius. Many professors are forced to yell in order to be heard over the vents.
To overcome this, some may suggest wearing more layers to class, and adding or subtracting layers to suit your own temperature preference. However, wearing a winter coat while sitting in a small desk makes writing and movement much more difficult. When our classroom environment is physically uncomfortable, how can we be expected to learn at all?
During class, I often find myself counting down the minutes until I can get to a warmer place. Even something as simple as note-taking is affected. Sometimes I don’t even want to take notes because I’m more concerned with staying warm.
Something must be done if the students and teachers here are to be successful in their endeavors. No student can learn in these conditions, nor can teachers teach.
The solution could be as simple as making the thermostat accessible to the people in the classroom. Even polling students to find out what they think of classroom temperatures could help determine what should be done.
No longer will we stand for this tyranny of temperature control.
Danielle Turner is a junior majoring in Secondary Education English and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.