Hot and Cold: William and Mary’s Temperature Problem


Lauren Meyer ’24 is planning to major in anthropology and minor in history. Outside of the Flat Hat, Lauren is a member of Swim Club and is also an avid Swiftie. Email Lauren at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

I am extremely hot. I am extremely cold. Am I entering menopause? No, I’m just in a building on the campus of the College of William and Mary.

The College has decided to take Virginia’s unpredictable weather and bring it indoors, making it impossible for students to accurately dress for the temperature. Is it 45 degrees and raining? Never fear! Earl Gregg Swem Library will do its best to make that cold feeling last. The library is in a constant attempt to outdo nature, leaving you shivering as you wither away at your assignments and making you just as miserable physically as you are mentally. Wearing a winter coat in a library shouldn’t be necessary, and yet, somehow it is!

But don’t worry! If it’s 80 degrees, Swem will dutifully turn into a sauna, just to fulfill your daily sweating needs. And remember, heat rises, so once you’ve worked up a sweat walking up the stairs to the second or third floor, you’ll stay nice and warm in the sweltering upper levels!

Once you’ve just about had it with attempting to work in a borderline uninhabitable temperature, it might be time for class. “Finally, you think, “I can leave and go to a building with a working heating and cooling system. Unfortunately, many of our campus buildings seem to still be using the original A/C and heating systems that were either installed: a) when the building was first built, or b) when internal temperature control was invented. Just take a step inside St. George Tucker Hall 220, where I am the lucky participant of not one but two classes, and you’ll see what I mean. In a true stroke of engineering genius, this room doesn’t get cold, no matter the external temperature! Even with all of the windows open, there is still the distinct feeling that you have descended into a layer of hell. Another room with a similar phenomenon is Washington Hall 201, although I haven’t been there this semester so my experience could be outdated, but I doubt it.

And not to be outdone, once you are tired from a long, hard day of classes, you get to return to the haven that is a College dorm! Personally, I am very thankful to live in Dupont Hall, where it has been Stifling Hot™ throughout the winter. Every day, I count down to April 15, when the A/C (allegedly) gets turned back on. In the meantime, I keep my window open, which has only led to a moth worming its way into my room once!

The start of spring also brings a fun game of “Who Will Win: Extreme Heat or Seasonal Allergies?” where I get to pick between opening my window and having pollen blow into my room or not opening my window and being hot. I am so glad I go to a school where I get to learn how to calculate risk and reward every day! It has truly taught me a lot about realistic expectations and prepared me to live in any environment.

Most student dorms on campus operate on an either/or heating and cooling system, with the building only able to operate on one setting. While I understand that it is a bit much to ask to update all of the buildings’ heating and cooling systems right away, I feel like it is a worthwhile endeavor for the future. The need is just as great for public buildings, such as academic buildings and Swem Library – all students (and staff) use those buildings, so isn’t there a very real demand to make them pleasant to be in? And if not pleasant, tolerable? I know we go to school in a swamp, but I’d rather not have every building on campus try to remind me.


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Lauren Meyer ’24 is an Anthropology major and a History minor from Richmond, VA. In addition to writing opinions for the Flat Hat, Lauren is a member of Club Swimming and Club Field Hockey. Her favorite beverage is a Strawberry Kiwi Capri Sun.


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