Can the Graduate School provide funds for AC installation in graduate student housing?

Date: July 2022


Dear Deans,

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer. As you may have noticed, in the past few days, the temperature in Ithaca has been sweltering and in the 90s.

At Hasbrouck Apartments–housing for graduate and professional students–air conditioning is not provided for residents. If residents would like air conditioning in their unit, it is required that we 1) purchase our own air conditioners based on the limitations set by the apartments and 2) that we pay a $200 fee for installation and removal of units.

Due to financial concerns, my family has accepted the fact that we will not be able to have an air conditioner in our unit this summer. However, recently I’ve found myself lightheaded and dizzy after long periods indoors due to the heat.

I am wondering if it would be possible for the Graduate School to provide funds for AC installation in their graduate student housing? I truly would not ask if I didn’t think this was beginning to turn into a health issue. If this is beyond the purview of the graduate school, would you please let us know where or who we might bring our case to? Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter. 

Gratefully yours, 

An Overheated Resident 


Dear Overheated Resident,

Thanks so much for reaching out with your question. It’s amazing how quickly we can go from freezing temperatures in late spring to sweltering summer days in July! It’s common for many homes and apartments in upstate NY to be without air conditioning because, at least historically, there were only a few exceptionally hot days each summer when people felt it was needed. Many older homes and apartment buildings were not designed with central AC, and some don’t even have the type of windows that readily accept window AC units. 

The Graduate School doesn’t have a fund to provide students with window AC units but here are a few strategies that you can use to stay cool during the hottest summer weather:

  • Use fans in or near windows to bring in cooler air, especially at night and early morning when it’s cooler outside.
  • Close windows and blinds as soon as the temperatures outside rises above the indoor temperature. I have a small digital indoor/outdoor thermometer I find helpful. On hot days it’s often counterproductive to leave the windows open when the outside temperature is in the 80s or 90s.
  • Box fans or pedestal fans can direct air towards you and make the room feel more comfortable, although they don’t actually lower the room temperature.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights, and avoid using the dishwasher, oven, or stove during the hot part of the day. Many appliances generate a significant amount of heat.
  • Stay hydrated, sip cool drinks throughout the day, and avoid exercise and exertion during the hottest parts of the day if you can.
  • I hope you and your family can plan to find activities and events in the area where you all can take a break outside of your apartment and find some relief by swimming, being near the lake, or scheduling time in other facilities that have air conditioning.

If your apartment remains too warm during the day you may find that it’s best to identify alternative places to study or work on the hottest days. These may include libraries, cafes, and some academic buildings. If you have health issues, caregiving responsibilities, or other factors that make the situation more complicated I would encourage you to contact me or Angela Yantorno (  We can help you explore options and possibly connect you with other services.


Janna Lamey
Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life