YSU Cranks Up the Heat on Students to Save Money

By Tyler McVicker
Jambar Contributor

In an email sent on the morning of Aug. 29, Youngstown State University informed the students of the air condition being turned off between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day.

John Hyden, assistant vice president of Facilities Maintenance, said in the email to the YSU community, “This will affect cooling campus-wide. You should expect campus buildings to be warmer than normal, and may notice that corridor lighting levels have been reduced. Cutting back on our energy consumption during peak usage is in the best financial interest of the university.”

YSU has seen record student enrollment this semester, with 12,731 enrolled students, according to WKBN. Tuition has also risen from the 2017-2018 school year, according to YSU’s own tuition numbers hosted on the website.

According to YSU’s official cost sheets, in the 2017-2018 academic year, average tuition was estimated as $13,650 and 2018-2019 is estimated as $14,974.

“I really, really hope that we are done with it for this year. We elect as we go to curtial on a daily basis, and it has to do with the real-time load on the electric grid,” Hyden said.

He said that the amount of energy the university uses in a period of time directly affects the amount of money paid for utility costs.

“Until the end of September, I don’t know when the highest one-hour periods will be. If I’m a betting man, I’m going to say that the top five we’ve had thus far are the top five for September,” Hyden said.

“Not using air conditioning on the hottest days of the year I feel defeats the purpose of having air condition in the first place,” Matthew Perry, a senior information technology student, said.

“As someone who is stuck in the engineering building until 7:30 p.m., I feel that the new air conditioner policy really sucks,” Anthony Guarnieri, a sophomore an engineering student, said. “I understand why they do it, but for everyone else, it just makes us really uncomfortable.”

Guarnieri suggested using other methods to curtail energy instead of decreasing air conditioning such as “turning off the lights in the parts of the buildings with more window light.”

“The truth is our [YSU] budget is based on us doing these curtailments; we don’t get a check back, it’s only a cost avoided,” Hyden said. “If we didn’t do this, we would be short on our utility budget next year — substantially short. We can’t raise the tuition to cover more electricity, so we just have to be careful about how we spend it.”

“With this decision, the students are not being kept in mind, and I know some fellow students who are very uncomfortable with the temperatures in rooms after they turn the AC off,” Perry said.

The email also said: “It is a way for YSU to responsibly conserve energy and to do our part to protect the grid from crashing, an event that would have significant consequences across much of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.”