An update on our efforts to help alleviate the overnight discomfort created by this latest heat wave.

Dear Oxy Community:

This note is to update you all on our efforts to help alleviate the overnight discomfort created by this latest heat wave. We recognize how difficult these last several days with the grueling heat have been for everyone, particularly those in residences without air conditioning. Fortunately, some relief from the heat wave is in sight: this morning's forecast predicts that temperatures will start to return to normal this weekend, with daytime highs in the 80s and nighttime lows dropping into the 60s by Monday. This is very welcome news to us all.

However, given that the high daytime and nighttime temperatures expected to last through the end of this week, we want to continue to do everything we can to make sure students are able to get rest and to sleep. To that end, we are taking additional measures to provide more options for relief.

Air-conditioned Berkus Hall lounges and study rooms on levels 1-3 are being converted into sleeping spaces. Card access will be provided to Berkus Hall for all students during this time. The College will provide mattresses and students will need to bring their own sheets and pillows. We believe we will have room for approximately 40-50 students. Restrooms are available in Berkus, but please plan to bring plenty of water to drink, if you choose to stay in the space. You will need to continue to use shower facilities in your assigned residence hall.

The unprecedented conditions of the past 10 days have made all the more urgent the College’s  efforts to best prepare for these rising temperatures. We are continuing to explore expanding our inventory of evaporative coolers for unairconditioned residence hall rooms. A current shortage of these units commercially has made it impossible for us to buy them in any useful numbers currently, but we are committed to building such an inventory for the future. We also recognize that these coolers work better for dry heat and not the humidity we are currently experiencing.

Consequently, we are also looking into other measures for cooling our residence halls in both the short term and the long term. In addition to establishing extreme heat protocols that can quickly be put into action in the future, we must think about this issue through the lens of climate resilience, and we will be looking to our recently created Occidental Committee on Climate Resilience and Equity for guidance.

Thank you all for your patience as we work to best cope with this current heat wave. 

President Elam and Dean Flot

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