And sometimes it even led to a small-scale manhunt to find someone who had an incoming call. “It is sometimes necessary for someone at the Y[MCA] to roam the dormitories in attempting to find the student wanted,” The Technician reported in 1936.
E.S. King, the secretary of the college YMCA, proposed a system in which a switchboard would be installed in the YMCA that would connect to a phone on every floor in every dorm. “Nineteen telephones would be installed, and an operator would be on duty during the greater part of the day and night to serve the system,” reported The Technician, which also ran an ad, left, touting telecommunication progress that had occurred from the Class of 1917 to the Class of 1937.
There was one obstacle to the plan, though — cost. But administrators proposed a $2 annual fee from each dorm resident to cover it. With that fee, students would be able to make local calls for free through the dorm system but still would have to cover their own long-distance calls.