Lawrence evaluates six-week break

Cuong Nguyen

The biggest change of this academic year was a longer winter break, which lasted approximately six weeks, equivalent to half of the summer break. The board of trustees decided on the schedule change in order to save on energy costs in December. Only a small number of students were allowed to stay on campus during the break.
Facility services reduced the costs of heating by gradually reducing the temperature in residence halls to under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with the exception of Brokaw and the guest house on Park Street, which housed students and offices during the entire break. The faculty still worked during the break, so the academic buildings’ temperature was lowered to only 65 degrees. At the end of the break, the entire heating system was step by step brought back to normal levels.
Additionally, Raymond House and International House were closed, and the staffs in both houses were moved to the campus center, which was open for most of the break. The Memorial Chapel held events in December, so the heat was not turned down.
According to Dan Meyer, director of facility services, the university took significant measures to reduce heating costs. However, the total amount of savings during the break has not been estimated because the bills for gas and electricity are not yet available.
Heating for the winter term has not been altered. Said Meyer, “We can not act to reduce costs without making students uncomfortable. So everything is back to normal [this term].”
The campus life office is still waiting for responses from students who stayed on campus before making plans for future breaks.
Amy Uecke, associate dean of students for campus life and acting dean of students, said,” I am anxious to hear what students have to say about the accommodations in Brokaw, Bj”rklunden and the guest house. In general, everything went well [and] according to plan.”
The campus did not completely shut down. Despite the winter break’s starting during Thanksgiving, winter sports such as basketball, hockey and swimming had competitions in December. According to Uecke, student athletes were well accommodated in Brokaw, hotels and on the road.
There are mixed reactions within the student body about the longer break. “I enjoyed it because I could travel to Hawaii,” said junior Rob Rashid.
Another student, junior Jon Mays, said, “I did not like it because the basketball team has to stay in hotel and practice in the [recreation] center for the entire time.”
Once cost analysis is done, the board of trustees will decide whether or not to continue the longer winter break. Currently, the longer winter break is planned for next year.