Brrrrr, it’s hot!
Whew! It’s cold!
Wait — now it’s hot again!
Once again, Exeter Summer School marks the opening of some of the largest saunas on campus; namely, the top floors atop many of the campus’s dormitories.
Carina Huang, an incoming Junior, resides on the third floor of Dunbar Hall, one of the largest dorms on campus, housing over sixty girls. “The heat causes me to wake up at night,” she said. “It has messed up my sleep schedule since I arrived at Exeter for the summer. I use two fans, but it does not seem to make a big impact.”
Another student, Riku Mito, was surprised to find that her dorm room on the fourth floor felt warmer than outside the walls of her dorm. “As you walk up the fourth floor of Dunbar, you can feel the heat immediately,” she said. “I tend to work in my room, but it can be very uncomfortable during the afternoon. Often times, it is a better idea to work at the library.”
This week, many dorm rooms at Phillips Exeter Academy reached temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees. Despite the heat and humidity, though, Exeter faculty stressed that the discomfort would be temporary. Indeed, a cold spell descended after the first week.
“This year, Exeter Summer began with a heat wave,” Exeter Summer Director Elena Gosalvez-Blanco said. “The extremely high temperatures typically dial down after around a week. For this reason, it is a waste of resources to have air conditioning running in assembly halls and dorms.”
Additionally, though many students experienced considerable heat in their rooms, Ms. Gosalvez-Blanco noted that students battled the intense temperatures respectfully. “This year, we received very few complaints,” she said.
To some faculty members, though, this summer’s heat blurs in comparison to previous years. For Russell Weatherspoon, an expert on religion and year-round instructor at Phillips Exeter, the scorching hot Exeter Summer session of 1988 remains vivid in his mind. “The summer was six weeks; for five of those weeks temperatures remained mostly in the nineties, sometimes rising above one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, combined with high humidity,” he said.
Residents and students in Exeter were not the only ones affected by the heat wave. According to Mr. Weatherspoon, “People suffered under these conditions from the Carolinas up through maritime Canada.” He also noted that “from time to time rain and thunderstorms rolled through, producing hope that lower temperatures and lower humidity would follow.” However, “the relief typically lasted only hours, unlike the very comfortable weekend weather we’ve just had.”
To Mr. Weatherspoon, “the true surprise of this oppressive period belonged to the students, who simply said they would deal with the weather they couldn’t change by not complaining too much.” Whether in 1988 or 2018, one thing remains the same: the resourceful and optimistic outlooks of Exeter Summer students, no matter what circumstance comes their way.