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Fans run out before distribution begins amid intense heat wave

 Photo of a stack of four blue boxes of box fans for sale in the Princeton University store.
Fans in the Princeton University store.
Lucia Wetherill / The Daily Princetonian

In a week where temperatures hit a sweltering 95 degrees, Housing Operations announced that it would give out fans to students, many of whom live in dorms without air conditioning. On Sept. 7, students flocked to Blair Courtyard to pick up their fans. The pick-ups were not scheduled to begin until 10:30 a.m., yet by 10:10 a.m., all the fans were gone.

“The demand for fans was very high, and 800 were distributed within 40 minutes of arriving on campus this morning,” University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss said in a statement to The Daily Princetonian.


Temperatures on campus have exceeded 90 degrees every day since classes began on Tuesday. Such heat poses a particular problem for undergraduates living in older buildings such as Rockefeller College, Mathey College, and much of upperclass housing which do not have air conditioning. Over half of campus does not have air conditioning. Extreme heat can also disproportionately affect students with disabilities.

“We are currently exploring opportunities to obtain more fans,” Hotchkiss added. “The Housing Office will soon distribute a communication that will provide an opportunity for students to sign up if they are interested in obtaining a fan.”

In the aftermath, multiple students alleged that students who live in air-conditioned dorms obtained fans for themselves or that students took multiple. Students were told to bring a University ID, but according to students, the University was not checking IDs, nor how many fans students were taking.

The ‘Prince’ was unable to confirm that fans were taken by students living in air-conditioned dormitories.

In an email, Housing Operations emphasized to “[p]lease only get a fan if you are in an un airconditioned dormitory.”


Kevin Go ’25 attempted to get a fan at 10:30 a.m. when none were available. He told the ‘Prince’, “Of course I am grateful that they were giving out fans in the first place, but wish they had thought things through a little bit more first.”

Last year, a program run by the Undergraduate Student Government had students sign up to request a fan, and there had been an extensive waitlist.

In the past weeks, temperatures in Princeton have been unusually high. The National Weather Service referred to the heat wave as creating “dangerously hot conditions” and, accordingly, issued a heat advisory for all or parts of 15 counties in New Jersey, including Mercer County. 

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Throughout the past decade, first-years have had to move in to Princeton under sweltering temperatures. This year marks the third highest move-in temperature since 2013. 2013 and 2016 both hit 92 degrees.

Julian Hartman-Sigall is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’

Lia Opperman is an associate News editor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]