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Hazy, hot and hoping for reprieve

Summer scorcher drives everyone to drink stands, air conditioning

All over campus, people ate their lunches indoors and hopped from one air-conditioned building to the next in an attempt to beat temperatures that climbed into the upper 90s in Boston and Cambridge on August 2.

Sporting shorts, tank tops and flip-flops, most of those who ventured outside carried some kind of beverage with them. "We have been selling a lot of iced coffees and iced teas," said Claudette Luis of Bosworth's Coffee Shop off of Lobby 7.

Across the street in the Student Center, it was the same story. "They keep telling us to drink liquids and we have a whole wall of different drinks for people to choose from," said Ray Lussier, night supervisor at LaVerde's Market.

Despite the fact that drink sales were up, other sales were not, Lussier said. "People have not wanted to leave their air-conditioned offices," he said.

Most of the drinks being sold at LaVerde's were of the cool variety, but graduate student Jason Orcutt did opt for the hot coffee at Bosworth's.

"My lab is about 65 degrees," said Orcutt, who is studying electrical engineering and computer science.

For Orcutt, the heat has not been a problem, he said. Still, moving into a new apartment on Aug. 1 when temperatures were in the 90s was somewhat harrowing. "That was pretty hot," he said. The next day, he was managing the heat with good cheer. "I have air conditioning at home and in the office. It is hot out, but always cool inside," he said.

Not everyone was so lucky. Senior Luis Fernandez's office building was one of those affected by the air-conditioning shutdown that affected a few spots across campus. He left early and sat in Lobby 10, reading a book rather than venturing onto the stifling Killian Court. "My office was uncomfortably hot," he said.

Because of the weather, energy production was strained all over the Institute and certain areas did have to be shut down, said Mary Tobin of the Department of Facilities. The department was careful not to shut down entire buildings, she said. "There were really only a couple of buildings that were down," Tobin said.

Additionally, the shutdowns were confined to non-critical areas, "areas that would have the least impact," Tobin said. "It was mostly corridor spaces and lecture halls."

Fernandez said when it gets too hot in his office; he heads to the lab area. "It is about 70 degrees in there."

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