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The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
by Caleb Geer, Ad Manager/Web Editor • April 27, 2024

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life when I showed up on campus in the middle of the pandemic almost four years ago. I knew...

Looking back at my time at Simpson
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It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
by Jenna Prather, Editor-in-chief • April 27, 2024

Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

Students are freezing: The negative temps are getting the best of Simpson

Caleb Geer
The sub-zero temperatures across Iowa are getting the best of Simpson’s residence halls and academic buildings.

Buildings across campus have been experiencing the results of sub-zero temperatures that have been rolling across the state since early last week. 

Temps have reached nearly 45 degrees below zero since the cold snap, yet students have come back to campus to a lack of temperature regulation.

According to Director of Residence Life Matt Hansen, there have been heating issues in residence halls across campus, including Kresge, Barker, Picken, Detroit, Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG), Kappa Theta Psi (KOY) and Lambda Chi Alpha. 

“At the time of writing this, all issues are under control, with plans to fully resolve KOY and investigate KKG more yet this week,” Hansen said in an email to The Simpsonian on Tuesday, Jan 16. “I am very pleased to be able to have such a responsive team in Campus Services.”

But students say otherwise.

Julia Wilson, who lives on the first floor of Kresge, said her heating has not worked since she arrived back from break. “I have to wear my winter coat in my room, and I’m still shivering. The water has also not been heating well.”

Junior Kalen Stefanick said, “Washington has had our heat go out almost every weekend since it’s gotten cold outside and they usually don’t fix it until Monday.”

Summer Pasutti, a senior and Team Lead for Kresge, said, “With the extreme weather, it got really cold. When I got back from work on Sunday, I noticed my apartment was really cold. There it was – 41 degree windchill when I left for the day. Pretty soon, the Kresge CA staff realized there wasn’t any heat.

“I personally called the on-call number for Simpson Maintenance, as well as Pro Staff. After maintenance did some digging, they found that the boilers in Kresge had turned off. He didn’t know how but had to call in someone else to get them back on.” 

According to Pasutti, the heat was turned on that same night, but there was still a catch-up game between the cold and the heaters used to warm nearly 140 students.

“As a staff, we have been in communication with our residents to make sure everyone has a livable space. I have continually been in contact with Pro Staff,” she said. “Some individual units are down right now, but again, we have been putting in work orders and getting maintenance to either bring space heaters or fix the problems.” 

Pasutti also said Residence Life would facilitate moves for those in “not livable” or “uncomfortable” spaces due to temperature.

“As of now, I have not had to move anyone because we have been getting space heaters or other temporary fixes done until we can get a permanent solution,” she said.

A few blocks west, Celeste Wagaman, a senior living in the Clinton Apartments, said her room went without heat for 48 hours before maintenance came to fix the issue. 

“After us contacting them [maintenance] twice, it took hours for them to work on the issue before anything was accomplished,” she said in social media correspondence with The Simpsonian. 

“(I am) Not happy at all with their showing of caring for us students,” she said. “There were multiple issues with the heat in our room that was just a long domino effect which proves they don’t check them as often as they should.”

The unexpected temperatures have been affecting everyone across Iowa, making even the best heaters fall behind.

“This has been an extremely long-standing and dangerous cold snap that is pushing many heating systems – throughout Iowa and Indianola –  to the limits,” Hansen said. “I’ve talked with colleagues with houses in town who report their furnaces aren’t keeping up in their homes!”

According to Memphis Dunsdon, a sophomore living in KKG, there’s more than just a heating issue: there’s no temperature regulation at all. Some rooms are blazing hot, while others are seeing the snow coming in through previously installed window air conditioning units.

“Certain rooms are cool because literal snow is coming into those rooms,” she said. “It’s like it’s trying to overcompensate for that (the snow coming in) by making the house hotter.” 

Across the practice field, Lambda Chi Alpha found they had lost heat in their basement. Junior Max Meyers, the house’s community advisor, said the cold was noticed Friday afternoon and that he submitted a work order very shortly after. 

Meyers said it wasn’t until he ran into Director of Facility Management Brian Schultes that noticeable progress was made.

After explaining the issue to him, Schultes reportedly said he would get it fixed immediately, and he made a call on the spot to arrange for work to be done. Things were reportedly fixed by Monday.

“It took a little bit, but as soon as you get it up to Brian [Schultes], everything gets fixed. I love that guy,” Meyers said.

Kappa Theta Psi seems to have it even colder: an ambulance was sent to the house late, around midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 17, according to KOY President Kenneth Norris. 

“I made the decision to call an ambulance for one of our members who was having a really bad reaction to the cold,” he said. 

According to Norris, KOY has an out-of-service boiler, which is the root of their heating issue. The part to fix the boiler has been ordered and is likely to be installed Thursday, Jan. 18.

“I’m usually used to Iowa’s harsh winters, but this was a scary experience,” Milo Hamlin said of his experience of being hospitalized due to his reaction to the cold. “It was a chaotic night of me being in and out of consciousness … I’m very worried for my physical health now. No one in my family passes out like that, even in extreme cold.”

Hamlin isn’t the only KOY member affected by the cold, according to Norris. Approximately 32% of the fraternity’s members have cold-triggered medical issues or symptoms that worsen with the cold season.

Issues spread past residence halls

Pfeiffer Dining Hall’s dishwasher is out of order, although it is unsure if it is a maintenance issue or a result of freezing pipes, according to Ben Nielson, Simpson’s Sodexo General Manager, said via email Tuesday, Jan. 16.

“We are hoping that the machine will be easily fixed and be up a little bit after dinner starts this evening,” Nielson said.

According to Nielsen, the issue is soon to be resolved. Ecolab, the food safety company Simpson leases equipment from, is “en route to hopefully fix the issue,” he said.

Until the issue is settled, students who choose to eat at Pfeiffer will be using paper plates.

And it is affecting classes, too.

According to the Class of 2027 Snapchat story, one of Jed Forman’s classes was relocated due to an issue with a radiator that caused a leak in Mary Berry.

The radiator was located in Foreman’s office, but the leak made its way below to Mary Berry 120. According to maintenance, they were able to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

There have also been reports that a classroom in McNeil can’t keep up either, resulting in the room being 55 degrees during classes. 

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Caleb Geer, Ad Manager & Website Editor

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