c/o Sam Hilton, Features Editor

c/o Sam Hilton, Features Editor

Last week, the blazing sun transformed the atmosphere on campus—literally and figuratively. By Wednesday, April 12, the student body was blessed with scorching temperatures, leading to overcrowding at Miller’s Pond and an array of hammocks on Foss Hill. Considering that every conversation this week involved some sort of commentary on the temperature, we thought the warm weather would make for the perfect topic in this week’s edition of From the Argives. Let’s take a look back at students’ experiences with warm temperatures on campus over the years. 

In a 2014 article entitled, “Heat of the Moment: A Guide to Warm Weather Style,” then-Contributing Writer Sadie Renjilian ’17 offered some style tips for the hot weather. 

“How do we dress to impress our stylish academic peers while not suffocating under the weight of moisture-soaked cotton? The first month of school is an important time for style,” Renjilian wrote. “Your history class may claim to be about European Enlightenment, but let’s be real: wearing the wrong thing will reduce you from the status of Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert’s ‘truly enlightened public’ to his ‘blind and noisy multitude.’”

Renjilian explained exactly how to adjust your wardrobe to some potential heat-induced inconveniences.

“Here’s a tip: sweat lines occur anywhere two fabrics touch with any sort of pressure” Renjilian wrote. “Backpack straps are a common culprit. Another slightly more horrifying occurrence is the sweat line where your underwear overlaps with your clothing. A good way to avoid this is to not wear giant cotton panties. Additionally, until it cools down, you may want to forego bras, which are going the way of petticoats anyway.”

With this in mind, Renjilian highlighted the forgiving nature of the University’s campus culture when it comes to experimenting with odd outfits, highlighting the endless possibilities of pairing seemingly unmatchable clothing items together. 

“At a school where anything goes, there is no need to sacrifice style for comfort,” Renjilian wrote. “One fun thing about Wesleyan is that here, it’s wicked cool to toe the line between hipster and slightly nasty. I truly love this attitude, as well as the rejection of corporate brands evidenced by DIY and thrifted jorts.”

Even though this weekend’s hot weather was short-lived, it reminds us that the most anticipated time of the year is just around the corner. Although students grapple with their final assignments, summer break will relieve them of their academic responsibilities in just a few weeks. 

In a 2019 article titled, “Hot Middletown Summer: Students Talk Summer at Wesleyan,” then-Contributing Writer Sophie Griffin ’23, and then-Assistant Features Editor Hannah Docter-Loeb ’22, recounted the experiences of students who spent their summer at the University, highlighting the peaceful ambiance of the campus.  

“The couple [of] hundred students who spent their summer in Middletown enjoyed a more relaxed, quiet Wesleyan,” Docter-Loeb and Griffin wrote. “With the majority of students and faculty away, the campus was more peaceful and empty. Summer People enjoyed hanging out with friends in a less stressful environment, making new pals through research, classes, or working, and exploring all that Middletown has to offer.”

One of the students interviewed, Ammie Wang ’22, spent the summer at the University doing research and shared some useful advice for those feeling hesitant about staying on campus over the summer. 

“I think summer at school sounds pretty bad initially,” Wang said. “But I genuinely had a great time, made new friends, and accomplished research that I feel good about. Also, you get air conditioning, so don’t worry.”

According to Wang, Middletown comes alive in the high heat of the Connecticut summer. 

“Middletown Pride was surprisingly popping,” Ammie Wang ’22 said.

Another student, Katie Toner ’20, highlighted the flexible opportunities that summer residents enjoy at Long Lane Farm.  

“[It’s a] really fun experience where you can create your own schedule and learn how to manage a farm for a summer, which is the most exciting time to work on a farm,” Toner said. 

Nonetheless, students encountered some obstacles on the slightly deserted campus. 

“Students who couldn’t regularly make it to the farmer’s market had to forage for themselves,” Docter-Loeb and Griffin wrote. “Many of the University’s dining options—Summerfields, WesWings, Pi Café, Weshop—are closed, and there is no meal plan available.”

While the lack of a meal plan is no longer the case, dining is still sparse. Another student who spent the summer at the University, Sophie Charles ’20, exposed the struggles of limited on-campus dining, 

“From what I could tell, close friends of mine were eating a lot of Annie’s microwavable mac and cheese,” Charles noted.

 Whether you are thinking of spending the summer at the University or not, Docter-Loeb and Griffin reminded us of an all-too-familiar scene that we all witnessed this weekend. 

“You’ve probably noticed promising signs already: Frisbee on Foss, new friendships (especially among first years), and that empty cardboard box of White Claw in the recycling room. May summer never end,” Docter-Loeb and Griffin wrote.

Even though many students happily greeted the sun, some were a lot more discouraged by the arrival of hot weather. Indeed, the lack of air-conditioning in dorms and perpetual sweating can be hard to deal with. A 2018 article entitled “Heat Wave Leaves Upperclassmen and Student Workers at Risk” by then-Features Editor Brooke Kushwaha ’20 recounted the challenges of dealing with extremely high temperatures. 

“A majority of student residences have no air conditioning, which has led to several complaints of negligence and insensitivity to student needs,” wrote Kushwaha.

One of the students interviewed, Olivia Najera ’21, explained the struggles of leading orientation week during the heatwave that peaked at 90 degrees. 

“I live on the first floor of my house on Pine Street, so I don’t feel safe leaving the window open when I’m gone or when I’m asleep,” Najera said. “[Because of this], my room is usually way hotter than the rest of my house, which makes it very hard to sleep. Last night was actually the first night I was able to get a full night of sleep since it wasn’t hot out.”

Another student, Shana Laski ’19, highlighted the inadequate response of the Office of Residential Life to accommodating her needs while she worked at the Office of Admissions in August.  

“It’s disrespectful of the school to hire student workers and put them in spaces that are not conducive to staying over the summer,” Laski said. “If you’re going to kick student workers out of the air-conditioned housing three weeks before school starts, then there should be air conditioning in every other unit.”  

Many of these concerns are still felt by the University’s students. With climate change only getting worse and systemic reforms and repairs (i.e. air conditioning) looking unlikely, it might be a good time to purchase a fan as we brace for the high heat to return later this month. 

“The heat, although uncharacteristic of Connecticut, isn’t expected to subside in the coming summers,” Kushwaha wrote. “According to The New York Times, models project the number of days above 90 degrees in Middletown to reach 18 in the next few decades, instead of the current average of six. Given the state of climate change, it might behoove the University to invest in air conditioning in residences.”

Likewise, some students are simply cold-weather people. In a 2017 article entitled, “Spring Has Sprung, and I’m Not Having It,” Kushwaha explained her qualms with warm weather. 

“Without sunlight, my olive skin turns a sickly gray, and I can pass as ill to most of my professors with ease,” wrote Kushwaha. “The cold weather months left me alone, gave me an excuse to complain and look miserable, and allowed me to relish my time indoors without guilt.”

Kushwaha highlighted the expectation that comes with feeling obliged to enjoy sunny days, erasing all possibility of drowning in your sorrows. 

“The moment the weather is nice again, you are morally obligated to ‘take advantage of it,’ or at least that’s the impression my mother has given me over the phone,” Kushwaha wrote. “You are also not allowed to be in a bad mood when the weather is nice.”

The warm weather is not the only problem that Kushwaha had with Spring, however. 

“Don’t even get me started on baseball,” Kushwaha wrote. “The field? An inconvenience. The sport? A test of true endurance, and I don’t mean for the players. If I wanted a game that lasted an obscene amount of time without a satisfying payoff, I would revisit my ex.” 

Looking back at the student body’s experience with high temperatures, it may be a good time to take inspiration from their style tips, summer plans, and housing considerations. Whether you are excited to experiment with new outfits or to lie on Foss Hill while basking in the sun, don’t forget your sunscreen and fans.

Eugenia Shakhnovskaya can be reached at eshakhnovska@wesleyan.edu.

“From the Argives” is a column that explores The Argus’ archives (Argives) and any interesting, topical, poignant, or comical stories that have been published in the past. Given The Argus’ long history on campus and the ever-shifting viewpoints of its student body, the material, subject matter, and perspectives expressed in the archived article may be insensitive or outdated, and do not reflect the views of any current member of The Argus. If you have any questions about the original article or its publication, please contact Head Archivist Sam Hilton at shilton@wesleyan.edu.  

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