By Renee Hoh
Afternoons flooded with sunlight, casual fountain hopping and dinner on the outdoor Tresidder seating illustrate the summer scene at Stanford. Students enjoy the summer sunshine later into the evenings with daylight saving time, but a new California bill could keep the long summer days going year round.
California’s Daylight Saving Time Act which established daylight saving time during the summer was originally implemented to make more use out of natural sunlight to conserve energy. If this act is repealed by the bill, state legislature could possibly implement everlasting daylight saving time, which entails sunlight that stretches later into the day but also darker mornings year round.
Some students appreciate the longer summer days but like the return to standard time when the season changes.
“It’s nice for it to be lighter in the evenings for sure,” said Margo Warnock ’18. “That’s probably my favorite part of the summer. Darker mornings in the winter is a little bit discouraging.”
If the repeal is successful, California’s time change would differ from the majority of the states. Tom N., a graduate student in electrical engineering, shared his thoughts on how this divergence might cause problems traveling between the states.
“Other states in the same time zone are still going to have daylight saving,” Tom said. “It’s going to be really inconvenient to have to change my clock if I travel to some other state. My phone already automatically changes between daylight saving and they would have to update the software to get it to stop. It seems like a big hassle.”
California would join states Arizona and Hawaii, both of which have not observed time change in decades. Arizona native Khalid Ahmad ’20 who grew up with year-round mountain standard time quickly adapted to the time change and long summer days but would welcome a permanent time setting in California.
“I’m personally not into the whole idea of [switching from] daylight saving time at all,” Ahmad said. “[In Arizona,] the days feel more consistent. I think it would be worth the change––a move in the right direction.”
While daylight saving time allows for longer days, it can be a double-edged sword. The early risers of Stanford campus would encounter an extra hour of darkness in the mornings.
“It was really inconvenient because I would wake up, and it would still be dark out,” Tom said in reference to waking up early for his past summer job, a contrast from his typical afternoon classes. “It is impossible to get out of bed when it’s still dark out.”
On the other hand, Stanford synchronized swimmer Joanna Langner ’19 is well-adjusted to life before the sun rises. Typically at the pool by 5:45 a.m., Langner sees permanent daylight saving time having little to no effect on her practicing schedule, especially with stadium lights artificially illuminating the pool.
With year-round daylight saving time, students can stay up later doing school-related activities, but office hours will still end at as late as 10:00 p.m. Daylight saving time would not help with Langner’s late night commutes back to the dorms.
“Honestly, I would be waking up and going to bed in the dark no matter what,” Langner said. “Daylight savings does not make a huge difference.”
Despite facing an hour commute to his summer job on campus, J.B. Horsley ’19 echoes the sentiment that the one hour shift forward may not have a meaningful impact on students’ lives.
“There were talks about driving from work [and] wanting to have it be sunny outside, which I guess is reasonable; it’s safer, but it seems like a lot of work and effort for something, to me, that has very little reward, if any,” Horsley said. “The costs outweigh the benefits.”
Although it may take years for the bill to get on the ballot, Californians may get an opportunity to vote for or against this bill and update the 67 year-old act with much-needed affirmation or change.
“I don’t have a really strong opinion either way, but daylight saving is a bit outdated,” Warnock said. “It is probably a good idea to get with the times.”
Contact Renee Hoh at renee.hoh ‘at’ gmail.com