Walking outside on a hot summer day in Chapel Hill could be considered torture to outsiders who are unaccustomed to this boiling weather. With weeks of temperatures reaching into the high 90s, coupled with the stifling humidity, air conditioning is graciously accepted by students and facility alike at East. While the first walk through the doors of East are a breath of cool fresh air, as the human body clothed in short shorts, tank tops and sandals adjusts to the new environment, people eventually find themselves pulling at their jackets and clutching their body for warmth. Why the drastic change? Why is it that students get goosebumps inside East when they may feel the need to carry a fan to keep cool outside? Air conditioning is welcomed — but East has turned the thermostat down too far.
Any student knows that science classrooms are the coldest rooms at East, but shocking evidence has proven this myth false. Room 265, an English and Journalism room, sits at a record lows throughout the day. Room 183, the Art History room, is infamous for having the same temperature as a refrigerator. While science classrooms at East are still kept at an icy temperature, it is clear that East does not discriminate when it comes to room temperature.
The hallways of East are heated and cooled as well. The temperature differential becomes very apparent when entering upper Quad A, as the blast of cool air has a similar effect to when one opens a freezer. However, one might only get goosebumps when walking in one side of the hallway. In both upper and lower Quad A, the left side of the hallway sits at a crisp 50 degrees, while the right side is set for 70 degrees. The massive 20 degree difference between the opposite ends of one hallway may call into question whether or not the school even notices these drastic changes. Some thermostats are covered in dust, clearly from disuse. This just shows how oblivious East is to its student’s health and environmental impact.
Air conditioning colds are very real and dangerous infections. The linings of noses are protected against infection by a thin layer of mucus. Air conditioning removes moisture from the air, thus removing moisture from the nostrils of one’s nose. This lack of defense allows infections and viruses to fester, which leads to 20 million school days lost annually in the U.S. from colds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. By having air conditioning on full blast, East is predisposing its students to infections and causing missed school days.
A study by an undergraduate at Loyola University found that air temperature has an impact on memory ability. Fifty-two students took computer generated memory tests in rooms with varying temperatures of 72 degrees, 80 degrees and 64 degrees. The results show that in the environment with temperatures of 80 degrees or 64 degrees, memory was impacted negatively while test scores were significantly higher in the classroom where the temperature was 72 degrees. Using this information, East can change accordingly. In the summertime, we can lower the burden placed on the air conditioning unit by keeping the school at 72 degrees. This would save the school thousands of dollars and would keep students comfortable.
“1st period 100 degrees, 2nd period 50 degrees, 3rd period 10 degrees, 4th period 100 degrees, life is a box of chocolates,” Tweeted East student @mlanglang1.
Let East hear your teeth chatter, for it is time for East to adjust to its students’ needs. Keep the school at an pleasant 72 degrees and East will become a perfectly tempered school.