Flames of The Torch

Creating a sound working environment is vital to achieving higher education, or so they say. Students inhabiting St. John and Marillac Hall are afflicted with a particularly frustrating distraction, as many are found sweating in a bleak classroom setting.

“I hate sitting in a hot classroom for over an hour,” Michael Liu, a third year pharmacy student said. “It’s hard to concentrate when you’re sweating in your chair.”

While Queens typically remains warm into the beginning of October, the University has failed to provide an adequate air conditioning system for its students and teachers, leading to frustration throughout the classroom.

The University needs to invest a portion of their income into their classrooms, especially in light of the development of the Taffner Field House, a huge athletic financial investment.

An imbalance between athletic and academic financial allocations is never advantageous to a university, especially when that university fails to provide simple academic necessities.

While athletes bask in the cool air of their state of the art athletic facilities, students sweat in old buildings devoid of mere air conditioning.

A 2002 study performed by mechanical engineering professors Thomas Witterseh, David Wyon, and Geo Clausen of the Technical University of Denmark revealed the ill affects of mild heat stress in a working environment.

The study, entitled The effects of moderate heat stress and open-plan office noise distraction on office work, involved, “Thirty subjects clothed for comfort at 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 F).” As the room grew warmer, air quality decreased while stuffiness and odor increased. As the temperature made it harder to concentrate, eye, throat, and nose irritation added to the growing annoyances.

The aforementioned description is strangely reminiscent of the complaints that students have voiced in recent weeks.

“It’s ridiculous,” junior Andrew Tealer said. “I sit in class and I just sweat like crazy. The entire class I’m just thinking about leaving.”

The dilemma caused by excessive heat in the classroom is one of environmental distraction, as pupils are left distracted from lectures, and teachers are often forced to open doors or windows, adding to unwanted noise and further distraction.

While the heat of summer annoys and disturbs, it will only be replaced by a worse fate- the cold of winter accompanied by the excessive heat of classroom furnaces, an utterly dreadful mix.

“The heat practically puts me to sleep,” Senior Heather Stein said. “You always have to dress in layers, and it becomes conducive to pneumonia. You can’t wear a sweater because you’ll just wind up sweating.”

The complications from climatic problems are concrete and trivial to most, but are seemingly unique to St. John’s.

When asked about the air condition situation in the buildings of his school, Georgetown University junior Daniel Nolan said, “There is air conditioning in almost all of the classrooms, at least all of the ones I have taken class in.” Fairfield University junior Elcid Abkarian likewise explained that, “All of the classrooms I have seen have air conditioning.”

The simple necessity of a sound learning environment is essential to University development, as the long road to academic prominence is built from the bottom up. It starts with the University spending on basic things like air conditioned class rooms.

To work at a relative deficit is to place all members of academia a step behind fellow universities.