Heat wave hits campus

AVERAGES: Higher than normal temperatures hit UND during the first weeks of school.

High temperatures, scorching sunlight and school?

Normally, these three words don’t go together in North Dakota, but for the past couple weeks on campus, this phrase has become a sizzling reality for most.

The first week of classes and the latter part of the second week this semester were accompanied by high temperatures in the upper 80s into the 90s. Most students trekking across campus may have wondered if they had accidentally moved to the Sahara Desert instead of Grand Forks.

Some students said they were surprised by the high temperatures on campus during Welcome Weekend. Prior to that week, temperatures had remained in the 70s.

Historically, the average August temperature in Grand Forks is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Weather Channel. This puts North Dakota well above average temperatures.

Zach Thompson, a sophomore at UND who lives in McVey Residence Hall, said that his new home “felt like a brick oven.”  Comparing the residence halls to a brick oven is actually a very good comparison since most halls are constructed out of brick and they tend to retain heat quite well.

Some students who live on campus and do not have air conditioning in their residence halls retreated to the residence halls that do.

Becca Friesen, who goes to a friend’s room in Noren Hall to cool down, said the condition of her room in West Hall — even with four fans running — has been dismal.

“It has been hot and sticky in the rooms,” she said. “Sleeping is difficult.”

Not only is the heat uncomfortable for most, but it also deters studying for some.

“It’s hard to focus when you’re sweating and dying,” campus housing resident Kayla Mccullough said. Where to be Cool

Judy Sargent, UND Director of Residence Services, has been keeping close eye on the situation. When students moved into campus housing this year, she was concerned the heat would create tension.

To help people bottles of  water and directed people to air conditioned buildings to take breaks. Those with medical conditions that did not allow them to be in the heat were accommodated to cooler places.

“People’s welfare is of utmost concern,”  Sargent said.

Sargent suggests that people go to the buildings on campus that do have air conditioning to cool down. Those include Swanson, University Place, Selke, Noren, the lower level of Smith, the main lounge in Bek, the dining centers of Squires, Terrace, and Wilkerson, Memorial Union, and various classroom buildings.

Some may wonder why certain buildings are air conditioned and others are not. The reason depends on various factors. Newer buildings, such as Swanson and University Place, are more likely to have air conditioning.

Sargent works with the Association of Residence Halls at UND to get their input on what buildings need air conditioning.

Christian Dahl, a West Hall resident who takes three showers a day to stay cool, spends his time in places that are air conditioned instead of his room.

“When it’s 90, it’s not foreseeable to sit in the dorms,” said Dahl. “I spend a lot of time traveling to be comfy when it’s ridiculously hot out.”

In the same way that extreme cold in Grand Forks can bring people together, Sargent hopes the heat can be a good thing.

“This heat can provide some opportunity,” Sargent said. “It pulls people out of their rooms and gets them to interact. It’s kind of a bonding thing, something to rally around.”

Ashley Marquis a writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].