I’ve lived in three dorms in my Stanford career: Twain, Toyon and now Granada. Never in that time have I heard of people “readjusting” shower heads themselves (as I’ve heard was done in FroSoCo), nor have I seen emails whose subject line reads: “Serious issue with shower heads” (as one Bob resident recently wrote to their chat list). The issue has been a common dinner-time conversation, at multiple tables in the dining hall every night for the past few days.
Actual picture of Stanford shower head on its way soon
Over break, it seems like Housing went ahead and replaced a good number of the shower heads in campus residences. The new ones, as I understand, are designed for lower water flow to help save water and be environmentally-conscious. This is clear to anyone who has used one, however, because the water is more of a trickle. It is like showering under a sink faucet, really. On my first night back, after taking a shower I asked one of my friends, “Dude, have you taken a shower yet since we’ve gotten back?” and immediately he responded, “I KNOW! The shower heads…what the heck did they do to them!?!?!” He knew exactly what I was talking about, and didn’t even think that I could be referring to his God-awful stench. Just kidding!
Want to see what I’ve done to help resolve the shower dilemma and we might be able to save every dorm on campus? Read on!
Right so my point is it was clear to everyone from the get-go that these shower heads wouldn’t do the trick. I sent out an email to my dorm and drafted a letter to our Housing Supervisor. In less than 24 hours, nearly 50 people had responded to me. To put that in perspective, all of West Lag (comprised of three dorms, Adelfa, Eucalypto, Granada) is probably around 200 people. And we all know how many people read dorm chat lists seriously to begin with. My point is that I had a real movement going here. I sent off the letter as an email attachment, with a full page worth of signatures from my dormmates.
The impetus for this letter was that I had spoken to our Housing Supervisor, Peter Young, the day before about the issue. Peter is a really nice guy and, as with other things, he offered to do what he could for us. He had encouraged me to write the letter with other signatories to show the level of support I had. I listed among other problems that one of the common criticisms of the new shower heads was that for all the water saved by the lower water flow, we were staying in the shower for longer just to get clean. Plus, I added, it is winter and getting only colder (current temp as I write this is <40 degrees) so showering with half our bodies in the water and half outside was kind of difficult. There is, I’m sure, a dissenting opinion on this matter. While no one I’ve met has taken the other side, and none of the ~50 people who responded to me disagreed, I think I ought to address the fact that some might see this as petty. Or anti-environmentalist. But I disagree. And one person made a good point that we all for the most part support environment-friendly…and it is a pity that actions like this will alienate other people from feeling the same way. I don’t know what kind of consultative process there was for this change (Peter Young told me that there was a trial period in SAE) but my biggest regret about this whole thing– besides me 10 minutes of cold showering every day– is that it might encourage people to assume that being environmentally-friendly means sacrificing some level of quality of life. As I see it, in this case at least we can have it both ways. I’ll let you know what response I get from Peter and, if it is favorable, one person recommended I get a campus-wide petition going, since it was clearly a centralized Housing decision. Would you support me in this endeavor?