Tanning students take over campus green spaces

Global warming gives students opportunities to celebrate warm temperatures

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling


At approximately 4 p.m. on Feb. 17 temperatures skyrocketed into the 50s and 60s, forcing UW-Eau Claire students to pack away their winter jackets and bring out their summery shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, swimwear and flip-flops in order to be comfortable in the unbelievably hot temperatures.

The green grass and sunny skies provided golden opportunities for many students to break out the sunglasses and flip-flops from their long hibernation since November.

Summer sports have also been on the rise, with students going to play beach volleyball, tanning wherever there is sun, doing mud facials and mud baths. Upper campus has been swarming with activity, and Nora Balisto, a junior communication student, said she was unable to cross upper campus this past Saturday due to the sheer amount of partially clothed students tanning in every available space.

Area grocery stores have been selling more charcoal and wood lately to supply the hungry college students looking to grill out. Jim Bow, owner of Woodman’s Markets in Altoona, said he ordered 100 bags of wood and 100 bags of charcoal each, and they were all gone within the hour. He also said the store ran out of all their sunscreen, sunglasses and lemonade.

A school-wide petition has started to go around asking for professors to give their lessons outside and, if possible, be able to go for a hike in Putnam Park for at least an hour a week.

Senior Economics student Helena Clawraven, said she is all for the petition and even knows the person who started it. So far, there are 400 signatures with a goal of 1,000.

Chancellor James C. Schmidt said he thinks more learning can happen outdoors, as opposed to the white-walled classrooms, which make up most of the campus’ learning spaces.

He said in a press conference Monday he is considering abolishing all indoor learning when the temperature rises above 50 degrees.

“It’s too beautiful to be inside, and all of our students deserve the sun,” Schmidt said with a grin.

During a campus tour on Friday, Holly Parched, a tour guide said students were flinging their winter coats off and lighting them on fire in an expression of joy over the spiking temperatures.

A rumor is circulating that instead of giving out hot chocolate this next Friday, Schmidt may be giving out sunglasses and small palm trees, in spirit of the warm weather.

The heat wave is projected to last until Friday, Feb. 24, when snow is in the forecast.