The Summit needs to stop alarming its residents | The Triangle

The Summit needs to stop alarming its residents

Photograph courtesy of Steve Snodgrass at Flickr

After having lived in the Summit for ten weeks now, I can safely say that there are things that I have grown to love about the place, but there are also some things that drive me mad sometimes. One of the most annoying and frustrating things that I’ve come to despise about living at the Summit are the fire alarms.

In the Summit, when a fire alarm starts going off, the sound will usually be accompanied by one of two warning messages that play on repeat. One of these messages tells the residents not to use the elevators or stairwell and wait for further instructions, which I find to be especially frustrating when I have to go to class because I can’t leave the building. These fire alarms also generally go on for several minutes, but there have been occasions where they didn’t last for very long.

The actual causes of the fire alarms still eludes me, but I’ve heard a few different things from my fellow residents. One of the most common theories that I’ve been told is that people who cook in the Summit burn their food rather frequently. To me this seems like the most likely culprit, especially when you consider how many people live in the Summit. There’s bound to be burned meals here and there. The same thing used to occur in Kelly Hall, where I lived last year, but it was less common because there was only one kitchen per floor and there were less people living in Kelly. So, while I should have expected an increased number of fire alarms in the Summit, it certainly doesn’t make them any less annoying and inconvenient.

Another possible source of the fire alarms that I have been told about is the Urban Eatery. Apparently since the Urban Eatery is also a part of the building, the fire alarm system is connected to the Summit, so when something goes amiss in the Urban Eatery the fire alarms in the Summit will go off. This theory also makes sense, but I don’t know for a fact that the Urban Eatery and the Summit share the same fire alarm system. I also haven’t been to the Urban Eatery since last winter quarter, so I can’t comment on whether or not a lot of food gets burned there.

These fire alarms are really a major inconvenience for me personally because I’m the kind of person that likes to operate around a very carefully constructed schedule. Going to bed extra early so that I can wake up to go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning, only to be woken up in the middle of the night by a fire alarm really puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I would gladly go to the gym at a different time, but going as soon as it opens in the morning is the most convenient time for my schedule this quarter, so I don’t want to change it. In addition to this, it’s also extremely agitating to be woken up by a fire alarm on a Saturday when I am trying to catch up on a few extra hours of sleep that I lost during the week. And these are not the kind of alarms that you can sleep through, especially when there is a loud continuous sound being accompanied by a woman’s voice repeating the exact same message in a monotone voice over and over again.

Now, I’ve said all of the bad stuff, but does that mean that the Summit is a bad place to live? Well in my opinion, the answer to that question is a solid no. There are of course several problems with the Summit, but these are problems that probably every student housing establishment admittedly has. In fact, the Summit has corrected and improved upon a lot of the issues that I had with Kelly Hall, and I can very gladly commend them for this. There are unfortunately chinks in the armor here and there, but in my experiences so far with the Summit, I’ve found that these problems can be cleared up with a bit of communication between the residents and the staff.

After having gotten almost an entire quarter’s worth of living at the Summit under my belt, I am very curious to see what winter quarter will be like. Hopefully it will be similar to that of Kelly Hall where the living experience improved with each quarter, but that remains to be seen.