Campus News

Lack of AC not a problem in Oakwood and Shupe

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Oakwood-Slater Hall is a dorm for freshman men on the Bethel campus.
Photo by Ashley Albrecht
To welcome the new  year and new students, Bethel has been showing off all of its renovations and upgrades on campus - from the Acorn’s total makeover to the new president and the newest stop sign by the bookstore. There is one improvement, however, that Bethel College still has yet to make: air conditioning in Oakwood and Shupe Hall. Why wouldn’t Bethel install air conditioning in the freshman dorms? “It is a significant financial investment and one that might not even be feasible, given the age of the buildings,” said Josh Hartsell, Oakwood’s resident director. Adding the luxury of air conditioning to such old buildings would mean more than simply putting up a couple of AC units. Workers at the Physical Plant would have to completely rewire the entire building. “Some significant work and infrastructure changes need to be done,” said Steve Yaw, director of the Physical Plant. Bethel, however, is fully aware of the fact that the freshmen halls do not have air conditioning. “Recently, even in the last several months, there has begun a renewed discussion about air conditioning in both buildings,” said Yaw. Oakwood and Shupe residents have chosen to look at the bright side of the issue. “The heat only lasts about two weeks anyways, so it’s not as bad as it might seem,” said junior Brian Hosinski, a third year Oakwood resident. Some have even attested to fact that the lack of air conditioning actually is more beneficial than it is uncomfortable. “We’re all going through the same thing and it creates a bond that we wouldn’t have if we had AC,” said Hartsell. Sophomore Pat Adkins agrees. “Oakwood has a community unmatched by any other dorm,” he said. “We all know we’re going through it together. The first couple weeks could be seen as an inconvenience but in the overall perspective, it is a very minimal problem.” Janelle Crotser, the resident director in Shupe, is living in the girls’ freshmen dorm for the fourth year. Crotser has never seen the heat as being “a huge issue.” She even appreciates how the sense of community is already strong because of the heat. “If we had air conditioning in [Shupe], probably a lot more doors would be closed than are already closed,” she said. "Open doors create a welcoming environment for first year students to live in...I just think it’s like a common bonding thing not to have air.” And it is those bonds that make the freshman dorms what they are. “This shared experience builds the strong community [Oakwood is] known for. I wouldn’t trade air conditioning for the underlying bonding that came as a result,” said Hartsell.
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