While students were away on spring break, Hillsdale College faculty and staff faced record high temperatures.
On March 21, Hillsdale County joined 422 other record highs across the nation when the temperature reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit. According to histori- cal weather data, that is 35 degrees above the average high temperature for March 21 in Hillsdale County.
By comparison, the record low for March 21 was set in 1993, when the temperature dropped to minus 7 degrees.
The high temperatures followed a national trend. The National Climate Data Center has called the months from December 2011 to February 2012 “the fourth warmest winter on record for the contiguous United States,” with much of the northeastern United States experiencing higher than normal temperatures.
Though the warmth that week brought the foliage on Hillsdale’s campus to full bloom, it “certainly posed some challenges,”said Timothy Wells, energy education specialist.
All week, windows could be seen thrown open in campus buildings. Mossey Library even kept both sets of its doors open for several days, freshman Anna Chuslo said.
“We had both sets of front doors open, just to get air, and it was still 84 degrees inside,” Chuslo said.
While the tem- perature soared and the crocuses and daffodils sprouted, Wells faced the challenge of main- taining the interior temperature of campus buildings.
“Last week with the warmer temperatures outside, it did have an effect on interior temperatures, but we just managed as best we could.”
Chuslo said it felt like August for Michigan, and that was her description of the external tem- perature. Chuslo spent time in the Grewcock Student Union, Moss
Hall, and the library. “None of the buildings had air-conditioning, so we were cooking,” she said.
Part of the challenge lies in the nature of the campus buildings, which Wells said have “unique characteristics, depending on the purpose of the building, the age, or construction.”
Despite uncomfortable heat, however, “The staff across the board was very understanding,” Wells said.