Last week, a bombshell was dropped on a select few NYU Shanghai students: no longer are Motel 268 residents allowed to keep personal refrigerators in their dorm room. This information was apparently released to Student Government by the Facilities Department and would be put in place as soon as possible, due to the fact that students are simply using up too much energy at Motel 268.

At the beginning of the semester, every student was emailed by their respective Resident Assistant informing them that personal hotplates, kettles, and other warming equipment were not allowed to be used in any room. This is simply just because they’re fire hazards. Since then, the word fire hazard has been drilled into my, and every other NYU Shanghai student’s, vocabulary.

Since then, there have been multiple issues concerning the removal of hotplates in October, the removal of washing machines, and the pressing concern of energy usage at our dorm.

On Oct. 13, an email outlined that hotplates were to be removed, as they were potential fire hazards, and they simply produced too much smoke. Perhaps, this was simply an issue of individuals who simply did not know how to work a hotplate or seriously lacked cooking skills. Regardless, all hotplates were removed from the Motel 268 warming station.

“Fire Safety and Electrical Use in the Residence Hall” was the second email of such nature that was sent to NYU Shanghai students by Residence Life. In short, the email described the way in which there had been a “misuse” of electrical appliances at Motel 268, and has since created “an unsustainable power drain”. Since then, the building has experienced blackouts, and it has also affected the water temperature throughout the whole building.

This email also stated that “starting next week and throughout the rest of the year, we will do random inspections of rooms for fire safety hazards.” This caused an uproar on NYU Shanghai social media groups, with some students deeming these searches “illegal” and a “violation of privacy” . However, Residential Life has stated since then that Residential Life Officers would not be searching through people’s personal items, but will be confiscating any items that are in visible sight.

All of this has led up to the lead up of one thing – the one appliance we were initially allowed to keep in our rooms, has to be taken away. While neither facilities or our Student Government has commented on this, sources who have chosen to remain anonymous, can confirm that this is the only solution left until we significantly reduce our consumption of power.

From the beginning of the semester, all NYUSH students were made aware – whether they chose to read the fine print or not is another question – of the prohibition of any items that have the potential to start a fire or to overcharge electrical sockets. Another reason for this is that the voltages of Chinese and American products are not the same, and students attempting to use American appliances may be the cause of this overuse of electricity.

Furthermore, to put it simply, Motel 268 was just not designed to hold 600 people at one time. Also, considering the building has been up and running since at least 2008, there is bound to be issues with maintenance. There is very little possibility that every single room was inhabited for this length of time, prior to our arrival in August.

So back to the fridges. Before we all congregated at Motel 268, we were told that personal refrigerators were going to be allowed in our dorms. But that was before the possibility that the building could catch alight at any point in time. And according to members of the Student Life and Residence Committee, this is a possibility if we don’t lower our energy usage quickly.

But what about individuals that need a refrigerator? Individuals with certain prescriptions and conditions are required to keep their medications refrigerated at all time.

Until the Student Life and Residence Committee and facilities can formulate a better solution, we can say goodbye to all our chilled food needs.

This article was written, sourced, and represented by Isabella Farr . Send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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