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Indiana legislature considers daylight-saving

Karen Langley | Friday, April 8, 2005

While the most of the nation “sprung ahead” one hour this weekend, St. Joseph County and other parts of Indiana remained on Eastern Standard Time.

However, this aversion to daylight-saving time may be almost over, as the state legislature is set to consider a bill which would have all the state’s counties observe daylight-saving time.

As any Notre Dame student knows, the current clock situation in South Bend means a weekend trip to Chicago is a one hour time difference – but only from October through April.

“I guess it’s only an inconvenience,” Pangborn junior Clare Desmond said. “I’ve lived in Ohio and Illinois, on both sides of the time zone. It’s inconvenient here because you are more likely to miss a TV show or forget to change the settings on something.”

Travis Gaff, a senior Zahm resident, said he believes the bill is a good idea.

“I think it’s silly,” he said. “I think the whole state should be one way or the other. It won’t hurt anyone to switch time zones, but it would be easier on everyone if we just went one way or the other.”

Current students are not the only ones affected by Indiana’s practice – prospective students and other visitors are often confused by the fluctuating time change.

“We do experience some misunderstanding, particularly each time the zones shift,” associate director of admissions Alisa Fisher said. “Although we advise prospective students and their families that our zone is unique when arranging their campus visit appointments and have reminders in our printed materials, many families do arrive either an hour early or late for their admissions information sessions and tours.”

Fisher said that in order to combat this problem, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has an “on-call” admissions counselor available each day to meet with families who arrive after sessions have begun.

According to Annette Edwards, coordinator of office services, the office does not feel the bill will have a large effect on visitor mishaps.

“The proposed bill to bring daylight savings time to Indiana will not adversely affect our office because we receive national and international visitors from a wide variety of time zones,” she said. “There will always be difficulty with ‘the time at Notre Dame’ due to our close proximity with Chicago and the Central Time Zone. The struggle we encounter on a daily basis is the misconception with the term Eastern Standard Time, which is commonly known as ‘New York’ time.”

While students and visitors may not be dramatically impacted by the legislature’s decision, Professor Gerald Frieling of the Mendoza Business School’s Management Department explained there are still many practical reasons for Indiana to make the change.

“Indiana not going on daylight savings time with the rest of the country is not business friendly,” he said. “Most travel is to the East, and with the exception of Chicago, most of the business transactions and communications are to the East Coast. Because of the time difference [businesses] automatically lose two hours of productive time at noon, as an example. Indiana should stay in the Eastern Time Zone and go on daylight savings with the rest of the country.”

Frieling said an amendment added to the bill would allow each county to decide whether to take part in daylight-saving time.

“If [the bill] proceeds with no changes, this provision would cause chaos, and the bill should be killed,” he said. “Right now it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.”