URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Several University of Illinois students are expressing concerns about the lack of air conditioning in their dorm halls after the heat became too much to bear last week.
Now, they are asking the university to take action, petitioning the university for better living conditions.
Students at Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall and Allen Hall said temperatures in their dorms reached 90 degrees on most days. It got so bad that sleeping on the floor or in the basement, or going to a friend’s place, were some of their options for finding relief.
They started a petition called “Install AC in all UIUC dorms for student well-being,” and more than 1400 people have signed as of Monday afternoon.
Freshman Ariel Cuatchon is one of several people speaking out on the lack of cooling units in freshman dorms and the toll it’s taken on her.
“I have to go to public areas that have AC because I don’t have any,” Cuatchon said. “I’ve had heat exhaustion for two days in a row recently this week. I’ve resorted to taking frozen washcloths and frozen ice packs and putting them on me while I’m sleeping.”
Michele Martinez said trying to stay cool is affecting her health and her pockets.
“I bought a couple of fans and it’s just really warm still,” Martinez said. “Every single day I feel so sweaty.”
Ariana Diaz said schoolwork and the heat have been a balancing act.
“Some of us don’t have extension cords,” Diaz said. “So you have to choose if you want comfort with your fan or if you want to plug in your device for school.”
A University of Illinois spokesperson released a statement on the matter:
The University of Illinois and University Housing are taking the issue of heat in non-air conditioned spaces during this heatwave seriously. Staff have responded with fans available for checkout, the purchase of new fans, as well as tips and resources for students on how to cool down and where to find air conditioning. While over 80% of University Housing spaces are air-conditioned, our facilities plans will get all halls air conditioning in the coming fiscal years.University of Illinois Housing spokesperson
Cuatchon said she hopes the university stays to their word sooner rather than later.
“I would hope that, if it doesn’t get done by when they say it, that we come together and somehow maybe form a group to get the message across that it’s necessary and needs to be done,” Cuatchon said.
Students said they will continue to speak out about the lack of air conditioning and want dorms to be better for them and future students.