The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SCHAMBER: Students are Feeling the Heat

Updated 9/5/23: This column was updated with information provided by the university about plans for air conditioning.

The first two weeks on campus have been hotter than ever, and four of Marquette University’s residence halls are not air conditioned. Students living in Abbotsford Hall, Cobeen Hall, Schroeder Hall and Carpenter Tower are forced to feel the heat more than everyone else.

The university has previously expected students living in these residence halls to tolerate the heat because it would only last a week or two. Unfortunately, climate data suggests the summer heat is lasting longer every year.

Marquette students are entitled to proper air conditioning. The university must respond to the changing climate and update their buildings to protect their residents.

Since 2020, Milwaukee has consistently seen temperatures 80 degrees Fahrenheit into late September and October. Many universities in the Midwest are not prepared for these conditions, and do not have the necessary infrastructure to keep their students safe and comfortable.

A 2021 study conducted by The Center for Climate Integrity found that over 17,000 K-12 schools in the continental U.S. will have to install HVAC systems into their classrooms by 2025, due to the changing climate.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, temperatures soared to a high of 105 degrees Fahrenheit while first-year students were moving into their residence halls for the semester. I was acutely aware of how intense the heat was. Luckily for me, I live in Straz, so I have air conditioning. I could only imagine the agony of trying to loft beds and arrange furniture in one of the four residence halls without air conditioning.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Public Schools canceled classes on Wednesday and Thursday, citing the danger the heat poses to students in spaces with no air conditioning. Marquette did not cancel school, and had its students move into boiling hot rooms. Therefore, it is imperative that they install air conditioning in students’ living spaces to protect them from adverse health effects like headaches, dehydration and heatstroke.

Further outrage was directed at the fact that the university does not allow students to bring portable air conditioning units into their rooms. The university stated that the current electrical infrastructure cannot support the large amounts of energy for A/C units. Instead, students are forced to rely on fans that take up crucial space and generate too much noise. 

People are already paying so much to go to this school, and room and board costs for residence halls with air conditioning are only slightly more expensive than those without it.  For the 2022-2023 school year, students living in a quad in Humphrey Hall were charged $14,500 per year with a meal plan, while those living in a quad in Cobeen Hall were charged $14,260 per year with a meal plan.

If cost is the main obstacle preventing Marquette from installing HVAC systems into residence halls, breakthrough technology by a company called Midea may solve this problem. While traditional window AC units are clunky and noisy, their new unit costs only $450 and is sleek and silent.

We reached out to the university for a statement and they said that there are currently no plans to install air conditioning in dorms because of costs and the current electrical grid.

Marquette claims to care about their students’ safety and well-being, and this issue presents the university with the opportunity to prove that. Students living in these four residence halls at Marquette that are not air conditioned require the attention of the administration. They feel ignored, and they want their concerns to be heard.

This story was written by Joseph Schamber. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Joseph Schamber
Joseph Schamber, Opinions Columnist
Joey Schamber is a first-year from Downers Grove, Illinois studying journalism and is an opinions columnist at the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys cooking, drawing and skateboarding. He is excited to be writing stories and to be active in his community!

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