Plug it in, plug it in

Dec 082003
Authors: Carmen Filosa

Jake Wakefield has to avoid cables, extension cords and wires

when he walks through his room.

Wakefield and his roommates, who live in a quad in Westfall

Hall, have three television sets, four computers, eight video-game

systems, a stereo, a VCR and a DVD all plugged into the three

outlets in their room.

“Its fun and it gives us stuff to do,” Wakefield said.

Wakefield, a freshman open option student, said he tries to

avoid having everything on at the same time because he fears the

consequences of that much electricity running through the room.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, something might explode.

It’s really complicated,” he said.

Anders Schulte, one of Wakefield’s roommates, said he also

wonders about all the electronic devices in the room.

“Every day I grow increasingly curious about what would happen

if we turned everything on,” Schulte said.

Although Schulte, a history freshman, joked about the

possibility of blowing hole in wall from all of the electricity, he

said he is concerned that all of the electronics may cause a short


“There definitely should be more outlets. There’s only one in

the room,” Wakefield said.

According to the CNN Web site, Wakefield and his roommates are

representatives of the new generation of college kids who are

trying to bring their highly-wired lifestyles into residence halls

that were built before this technology.

Many schools are forced to upgrade the electronic systems to

prevent safety hazards and shorts in electricity.

The increase is a problem in most colleges including CSU.

“Students today bring a lot of things that need to be plugged

in,” said Mary Ellen Sinnwell, director of Residence Life for


Sinnwell blames problems in electricity on the outdated designs

of the residence halls.

“The problem is that the buildings were designed a long time

ago. The sheer volume of things that need to be plugged in for

students in the ’60s and ’70s versus students in 2003 has

increased,” Sinnwell said.

Sinnwell said the residence halls do not have a policy

restricting the number of electronics plugged into the outlets but

do encourage students to use power strips to avoid the consequences

of the increase of electricity.

“We just want students to be fire-safe,” Sinnwell said.

Sinnwell said long-term plans for handling the electronics

increase include making more up to date systems in new residence


The new residence hall currently in construction will have a

more efficient system.

“It’s an upgraded building with upgraded electrical wiring,”

Sinnwell said.

Although Sinnwell said the new building will be able to handle

the increase in electricity, there will not be more outlets

available in the new residence hall rooms.

“It will be the same typical room,” she said.

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