After three weeks without hot water, residents of Y Dorm celebrate its return
Y Dorm's exterior. Photo by Maya Rish.

After three weeks without hot water, residents of Y Dorm celebrate its return

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The first week of classes is always chaotic. For first year students, it’s full of initiations, and often the subject of much discussion for years to come. For students in Y Dorm, the general havoc had an additional, prolonged element. On Aug. 20, the first day of orientation and move-in, incoming students had no hot water in the Dort and Goldstein dorms. The following day (Aug. 21), the water was fixed in Dort and Gold, but had stopped working in Y Dorm. 

“I had one hot shower, and that was the first day. And since then it’s been freezing cold. My roommate sent out a work request and [the administration] emailed everyone in the Y dorm and said it would be fixed in five to seven business days,” first year student and Y Dorm resident Sean Orenstein told the Catalyst. “It has been way more than five to seven business days, it’s been two weeks.” 

The hot water came back in Y on Sept. 5. Director of Communications and Athletic Public Information Officer Nathan March said that a Honeywell-Gas Solenoid valve was “irreparably damaged by an electrical surge,” causing the water problems for Y Dorm. 

“This valve could not be sourced locally, and supply chain issues further complicated acquisition of a new valve,” March said. 

March reported that Dort and Goldstein’s water problems were due to “an electrical heating element,” and the replacement part was available, allowing for a speedy resolution. 

Associate Director of Physical Plant Curtis Davis did not provide direct comment for this story.

Not only were students unable to take a warm shower, but the situation affected other areas of campus life as well.  

“We were washing dishes, hands, faces, with cold water,” first year Kate Cubinski said. “Some people in my building I don’t think even got one hot shower.” 

As a temporary solution, the administration suggested that students use the showers in the Recreation Center instead. Not all students were excited about this fix, and most continued to use the facilities in Y. 

“I try to get to everything as quickly as I can so I can get out,” Orenstein said. And further, “I don’t think I should have to go to a gym to shower when I have a shower in my room.” 

As Orenstein explained, “One of the reasons we paid extra for these dorms specifically, is that we’re only sharing a bathroom with two people instead of a communal bathroom.” 

During the three weeks the water was out, some students decided they didn’t mind so much. First year Sam Waterman said that while it was “pretty cold,” it was also “kind of exciting.” 

“Honestly I haven’t really minded it, I kind of like cold showers. I hated cold showers before but now it’s…  kind of cool. I don’t mind anymore,” Waterman said.

Davis said that solutions are on the way to “update outdated equipment” and “prevent future problems.”  

Cubinski says she is grateful everything is back to normal. “The hot shower felt really good. I wish we’d had hot water the whole time, but I’m very grateful for the luxury of hot showers.”

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