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Turn off the winter

<h5>The Fountain of Freedom in Scudder Plaza.</h5>
<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
The Fountain of Freedom in Scudder Plaza.
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

It is easy to forget that unlike the outside world, the weather conditions on campus are the products of conscious construction. Though determining the operational parameters of President Eisgruber ’83’s weather machine remains a daunting and neglected project — the silence in the referendum department is deafening — it remains the case that he could, on a whim, resolve the ecological matters that concern much of our campus community.

Any reader of Freakonomics knows, of course, that people respond to incentive structures, and we at Princeton are no different. Why do we turn on the heat, take hot showers, and drink hot chocolate? Because it's cold! 


Except for the hot chocolate. Everyone should be drinking that regardless.

The point, of course, is that wasting energy on heating the inside of buildings would not be necessary were said architectural marvels not being frozen from the outside by an unrelenting onslaught of University-sponsored iciness. Will it be necessary to expropriate our meteorological manager, or will he come to his senses in time?

No matter. Two things, clearly, are imperative: We must pressure President Eisgruber to make the right call, and we must be prepared to master the technical aspects of his machine if he fails to do so. It seems so obvious, one may object, that this shouldn't be necessary. If our own administration could warm the outside as readily as the inside, why would they do otherwise?

The first among imaginable — albeit poor — arguments is that this would waste more energy than heating the inside of buildings. It is a particular type of person who would think to pose this question; the technical term, if memory serves, is “twerp.” But freezing cold does not a sharp mind make, so just to clear things up, I'll waste space and address it.

The primary response, of course, is simply "Shut up!" Seriously? We're talking about a magic weather machine, to which no other university or locale has access, and your first thought is of unintended consequences? Where is your adventurous spirit? And also, it's magic. Secondly, is constant comfort not worth whatever the cost might be?  Whatever it is, it will probably be suffered by someone else, anyway. Like I say, twerp.

Further, one might point out that it's good for those from different regions to be exposed to a diversity of weather conditions. Well, we've had quite enough of that already. For those who haven't caught on, I'll cut to the chase and reveal that our region sucks. Aside from that, why is college the place to learn to deal with frostbite? Let's keep it restricted to a diversity of ideas, please, so that we can determine who actually has a right to be here in the first place.


The last plausible counterpoint concerns how temperature moderation might empower students in ways we shouldn't be. For instance, leaving the comfort of our dorms might actually encourage us to interact! Then again, the localized abolition of wintry conditions will drastically reduce cuddling rates, which should be a comfort to the Puritans who may have Eisgruber's ear.

If the administration does not respond, we will be forced to act. It will be hard to work together, as it may require leaving our heated buildings. But if we muster the courage to break the ice in the most literal sense, we'll have a heated outside, as well. And then the sky will be the limit — or rather, the outskirts of an insular campus.

This article is part of The Daily Princetonian’s annual joke issue. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!

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