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Beating the Seattle Heat (Without Air Conditioning)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

As we grow closer to summer weather (with record temperatures for May), most of us might be finding ourselves dealing with an unexpected challenge: the heat. And if you’re living on campus in a building with no air conditioning, it’s time to prepare for a summer of finding creative ways to stay cool. From optimizing natural ventilation to using fans strategically and exploring portable cooling options, staying cool on campus is definitely within reach – and here’s how. 

1. Open the windows at night 

Dorm rooms and apartments definitely can get stuffy, so by opening the windows at night when the temperatures are cooler, you can effectively bring in the fresh air and cool down your living space. The cool night breeze can help dissipate the accumulated heat from the day and create a more comfortable environment for sleeping. 

2. Use a fan to improve air circulation

Fans are another good option to increase air circulation. Try positioning the fan strategically near a window or open door, which can draw in fresh air from outside, creating a refreshing breeze. Consider using a fan stand or pedestal to elevate the fan and cover a larger area. For an extra cooling boost, place a bowl of ice or a tray of frozen water in front of the fan, so the cool air passing over the ice will circulate and help lower the room temperature. 

3. Close your blinds or shades during the day

Be sure to close your windows and blinds during the day, especially if the temperature outside is hotter than the temperature inside. Also, consider investing in blackout curtains to further block out sunlight and heat. These specialized curtains are designed to effectively reduce heat gain and keep your room cooler. By closing your blinds and using blackout curtains, you can minimize the amount of heat 

4. Take breaks in air-conditioned locations on and off campus 

If your living space is still too hot, consider going to a nearby cafe or library, or other public buildings with air conditioning. These places provide a cool and comfortable environment where you can relax, study, or simply escape the heat. Most of the public buildings on campus have air conditioning, such as the Odegaard and Suzallo libraries, making them great locations to cool off. 

5. Stay hydrated 

Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to help regulate your body temperature and prevent dehydration, which can be exacerbated by hot weather. When you’re properly hydrated, your body is better equipped to handle high temperatures, keeping you more comfortable and reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle when you are out and about. 

We hope these tips and strategies will help you in staying cool and beat the relentless heat in Seattle. Whether you’re a college student living on campus or anyone looking for ways to stay comfortable without air conditioning, implementing these suggestions can make a significant difference. Remember to be creative, adapt the techniques to your specific situation, and prioritize your well-being during the hot summer months. Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy a refreshing summer season at UW!

Trushaa Ramanan

Washington '25

Trushaa is currently a sophomore at the University of Washington studying Informatics. She enjoys designing, listening to music, binge watching Netflix shows, and redecorating. She aspires to work as a UX designer and make technology more accessible and impactful for everyone.