MSMC Classroom
(Photo by Lee Ferris, Mount Saint Mary College)

by Laura Wetherbee

NEWBURGH Students agree that the temperature of Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) classrooms directly affects their concentration level.

Many students have experienced varying temperatures in classrooms that are located in the same buildings at MSMC.

Some students feel it is difficult to focus on class studies when feeling uncomfortable in the classroom.

Senior Kyle Ng blames his tiredness on the heat of his classroom during the winter months.

“My classroom in Aquinas is so hot and stuffy it just puts me to sleep, I cannot focus,” he said. “The atmosphere you learn in is important and my productivity level goes down when the room is too hot.”

How is the heat controlled in MSMC buildings? According to Doug Smith, an MSMC maintenance worker, there is a boiler in every building on campus, the heat in the classrooms of each building is then controlled by a central computer system.

Not all classrooms are set to the same temperature. Depending on the technology equipment in the classroom, the temperatures could vary. Smith said the temperature in these rooms could still be altered, and a certain temperature is not “critical” for technology.

A professor cannot simply turn down the thermostat in the classroom. If a problem arises concerning the temperature of the room, the professor must notify the maintenance department, which could then access the computer system and adjust the temperature for a particular room. Otherwise, students admit that classes have been subject to room switches in the past, when the heat or air conditioning were not working properly in their classroom.

Buffer Social posted an article in 2013, “The Science of How Temperature and Lighting Impact Our Productivity,” written by Leo Widrich. According to this article, uncomfortable temperatures are a distraction. When a person is cold, they are using a substantial amount of their energy to keep warm and a lot less of that energy goes towards concentration, inspiration, and focus. 

Students have found some solutions to the varying temperatures of the classrooms on campus.

Ng suggested layering clothes. By wearing multiple layers of thin clothing, students could add more layers if they get cold and remove some layers if they get too hot. This would give the student some type of control when the temperature varies so drastically between rooms.

For the future, the maintenance department requests that students speak with their professor if room temperatures become a serious problem.