Let’s face it: college is simply less fun with less sunlight. Being able to walk everywhere, enjoying our beautiful campus and spending time outside are great joys of college living. The cross-campus trek from the townhouses to the library is far more pleasant in the daylight and feels far more intimidating in the darkness.
We’ve been lucky this year that even into the month of November we’ve held on to some pretty mild temperatures, and been able to truly bask in the sunlight. But that’s all going to come crashing to a halt this week, following the twice-yearly time change that accompanies America’s inexplicable continued loyalty to Daylight Savings time.
The Senate recently passed the Sunshine Protection Act to do away with this bizarre policy and give us back our extra hour of evening sunshine. It would implement permanent Daylight Savings Time, and prevent the “falling back” of the clocks every November.
This passed through a unanimous voice vote in the Senate. The original sponsors of the bill are Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). I think it’s fair to say in the current political climate if a Massachusetts Democrat and a Florida Republican in the Senate can manage to work together and somehow cultivate a unanimous vote, then the thing they’re teaming up to eliminate must be really bad.
Unfortunately, the bill is still hung up in committee hearings in the House of Representatives, and will then need to go on to a Presidential signature before it can become law. This was not fast enough to save us from having to move back the clocks this past Sunday.
This policy is wildly unpopular as it stands. There is polling data indicates that as many as 75% of Americans oppose the practice. So why on earth would it make sense to continue a policy with this high of a disapproval rating?
There are health, safety and economic benefits that accompany permanent Daylight Savings time. Sunlight lasting later into the day can reduce the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (often called seasonal depression). There are fewer car crashes while Daylight Savings time is in effect. More light has been shown to decrease the number of robberies. An additional hour of sunlight in the afternoons comes with an increase in consumer spending compared to standard time. All the business and nursing majors of Fairfield University: permanent Daylight Savings time might actually make your future careers better.
Seasonal affective disorder is a huge challenge specifically for where our campus is located in the Northeast. Seasonal affective disorder is typically more common the further north you live, and symptom onset is most likely to occur beginning in your twenties.
The previously mentioned economic benefits are based on the fact that more people are willing to leave their homes and drive to go shopping when it’s still light out. Many of the exciting events taking place on campus happen in the evenings, when it will be dark in the winter now. Permanent Daylight Savings time might just be the boost we need for higher club and event attendance on campus.
It doesn’t help that on our lovely Northeastern campus this increased darkness is accompanied by a decrease in temperatures, as it comes right as we are starting to experience our first tastes of winter weather. The bitter cold only compounds the sadness of losing the sunlight. Even without a full-blown seasonal affective disorder, summoning the will to leave your cozy bed and blankets behind to face a dark winter evening is always going to be a mental hurdle.
So there you have it, folks. Permanent Daylight Savings time is better for America, and it’s better for college. It’s time to get rid of the anguish of the yearly clock switch.
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