To the Editor:

Here is a personal anecdote I’ve just experienced: I had a towel on my waist and shampoo and soap in my hands; I took the elevator from the fifth floor of the Stiles tower, where I live, to the third floor, because there was no hot water on my floor (and usually there isn’t at this time of day, so no surprise for me). I got to the third floor, where there normally would be some warm water (not hot water though), but I guess not today, so I got out of the shower, feeling a little cold, still in my towel, and went to the second floor, where there was only bitter cold water. I got out of the Stiles tower, still in my towel, crossed the courtyard and got into a first floor entryway where I used to live. I reached the shower, and turned it on — Oh my God, there was warm water (still not hot water, though)!

Now I’m writing after a warm shower, but this was the most difficult shower of my entire life, and I lived through the 1980s of communist China where things weren’t as readily available as they are in today’s America. My parents’ workplaces always had good hot water ready for showering and I always recall those good old days of happy showers in my mom’s factory.

This no-hot-water-in-Stiles thing, however, isn’t new. It’s been like this — on and off — since September. Stiles needs renovation (and perhaps Morse as well).

The shower problem isn’t just it. We had a major toilet system breakdown last week. My overhead light also broke down, so I called the custodial service, but whether they changed the florescent tube at all or they changed to another broken one didn’t matter because it still doesn’t work right. So a Columbus Electrician came, turned on my flickering light and bent over to take a look — he moved the tube around a bit, and hey it was working now! So, OK, cool, now every time I turned on my light I would just play with it a bit and please it, and hope that it would come up fine. Who cares about wiring problems in our rooms?

Please don’t call us spoiled kids. I have taken cold showers on my floor. My hallmates have taken cold showers on our floor. Some of us have even hiked across the courtyard to shower, and we can also stand playing with our lights before they come up. Ray McCarthy, who supervises Stiles and Morse colleges’ custodial services, has been a patient person and tried to accommodate our needs as much as possible. However, without more financial support, changes can’t take place. Maybe other colleges should receive priority for renovations because they are older, but when a college’s system stops to function regularly, more things should be done. And I’m not talking about a big renovation proposal next year — I’m talking about tomorrow, when I will have to shower again.

Xizhou Zhou ’05

Nov. 10, 2004