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Harvard Heating Issues Snowball as Students Complain of Cold Dorms

Some Harvard College students complained that of heating issues in their dormitories upon returning to campus for the spring semester.
Some Harvard College students complained that of heating issues in their dormitories upon returning to campus for the spring semester. By Catherine H Feng
By Natalie K Bandura and Azusa M. Lippit, Crimson Staff Writers

When students returned to campus for the spring semester, some were not exactly met with a warm welcome.

As temperatures dropped to the teens when Harvard College students moved in earlier this week, heating systems across several undergraduate dorms and Houses faced difficulties. Temperatures stayed low as classes began, prompting many students to voice complaints of uncomfortably cold temperatures or lack of hot water in their dorms.

“It's rarely warm enough, and it's been worse since we returned from winter break. I have to bundle up in layers (e.g., jackets), hats, and gloves and all, to be able to sleep at night,” Leverett resident Wendy C. C. Villanueva ’25 wrote in an email to The Crimson on Monday.

Villanueva is a resident of Leverett G Tower, which has been the site of a high concentration of complaints of heating issues.

Leverett G Tower resident Sarah G. Moreno ’26 said that heating issues in her suite had affected a student from Turkey visiting over winter recess through the Harvard College in Asia Program.

“The Turkish girl actually decided to leave Leverett tower after spending one night because it was too cold,” Moreno said.

“She actually decided to book a hotel instead,” she added.

Jared P. Reuben ’26, another G tower resident, said he filed two work orders for heating issues before the winter recess and was told the heater was working, but when he returned last week the heater remained dysfunctional.

“I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting to the temperature — if it was the correct temperature, and I just felt cold for no reason,” Reuben said. “So I did get a thermometer, because I was kind of just cold and miserable at that point.”

“The one maintenance person who knows us by name now because I’ve filed so many work orders — he’s been incredible,” Reuben added. “But he told us that some of the pipes are just kind of filling up with impurities in the Cambridge water, so the heating water pipes are just getting thinner and thinner.”

Leverett House was the site of a large number of complaints regarding heating issues in student dorms.
Leverett House was the site of a large number of complaints regarding heating issues in student dorms. By Amy Y. Li

Following an influx of complaints Monday night, Leverett House’s building manager Mohamed Zaker sent an email to residents of G Tower Tuesday, writing that heating would be fixed by Tuesday afternoon.

The Leverett House building manager declined to provide additional comment about the room temperature complaints.

Heating issues have not been constrained to Leverett House: Joseph A. Johnson ’26, a resident of Pforzheimer House, noticed heating issues immediately after he got back to campus Saturday night, with a cold room and a leaking window.

“That night, I went out to the movies with some friends and then I came back and I had walked from the yard to my room and I was already frigid,” Johnson said. “And I go into my room, and there was no respite whatsoever.”

“One of the windows had been leaking ice and water on the interior,” he said, adding that he and his roommate had trouble sleeping, despite stocking up on extra layers.

Heating issues also plagued freshman dorms in Harvard Yard.

Weld resident Daniella M. Elge ’27 said her roommate first noticed that the heater was on and emitting heat, but not effectively heating the room. She added that other students living on her floor raised problems with heating at an entryway meeting.

According to a Yard Operations email to the freshman class Wednesday afternoon, freshmen also experienced a lack of hot water for several days before it was restored Wednesday.

College spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo wrote in a statement that the College is aware of concerns regarding heating.

“Facilities staff members have been working to address these concerns,” he wrote. “All reports that have been filed regarding heat in residential buildings have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved.”

“We appreciate students' help in identifying concerns and ask that students continue to file maintenance requests with their building managers if any further issues arise,” Palumbo added.

​​—Staff writer Natalie K Bandura can be reached at natalie.bandura@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Azusa M. Lippit can be reached at azusa.lippit@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @azusalippit or on Threads @azusalippit.

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