Cabot House First To Give Out Free Lamps
Harvard dorms are known for being luxurious, old and, well, gloomy. But students soon may have a much brighter future.
Starting with Cabot House, every undergraduate will receive a free fluorescent lamp as part of the standard dorm allotment of desks, dressers, bookshelves and beds.
A lamp giveaway, which began yesterday, will soon provide every Cabot resident with a free fluorescent lamp. Other Houses are slotted to receive lamps as quickly as possible, according to Cabot House Co-Master James H. Ware.
Although the lamps cost $55 each, Ware said the College hopes the safety gains and improved efficiency will outweigh the cost.
The estimated cost to the College for supplying lamps to all upperclass students will be over $250,000.
First-years were issued the lamps halfway through last year in response to student complaints of inadequate lighting. Halogen lights are banned in first-year dorms.
According to Ware, Cabot "looked like a lighting factory" yesterday as students chose black free-standing lamps from among the hundreds in Cabot basement and brought them to their individual rooms.
In all, Cabot will give away 370 lamps to its residents in the effort by the college to improve lighting in all undergraduate residences on campus.
Ware said the lamps were chosen to provide adequate lighting to all students without using halogen lamps, which are a potential fire hazard. The lamps use energy-saving fluorescent light but are as effective as halogen lamps.
The decision to use these particular V-shaped lamps, which were designed by a former student, originally came over three years ago, in response to escalating energy costs and a halogen-related fire in 1996.
Robert L. Mortimer, associate director of building services, gave the approval to start handing out lamps at Cabot House. Students could pick up their own lamps yesterday or wait for house services to deliver them.
Sue K. Paik '02, a Cabot House resident, was thrilled to see an elevator filled with boxes on her way to breakfast yesterday morning.
"I was kind of surprised," she said. "I was going to pick one up for my entire suite...but then I was told that each of [the five of] us could take one."
Paik was one of the many students grateful for this new source of light.
"I think they're really needed," she said. "My room does not get enough light with just the big overhead lamp. We're pretty happy about this."
Others found the giveaway a bit excessive.
"It's pretty crazy right now," said Alex T. Maskin '00. "We're just putting them in the closet because there's so many of them."
One of Maskin's roommates, Lawrence T. Ho '00, agreed.
"As seniors, we're not going to replace our halogen lamps," Ho said.
However, he said, they might be helpful as a preventive measure, especially during the summer when students may not have their own lamps.
"It was not the most important thing that happened in the world today," Ware concluded, "but it's a good thing for Cabot, Harvard and humanity."