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As February sees unseasonably warm temperatures, students flock to Oval Beach

A student walks on a slackfline on the Oval on Feb. 20. Credit: Ris Twigg | Lantern Reporter

If students were expecting to spend February dressed head to toe in thick, warm clothes, as they walked through fresh powder across the Oval under gray skies, they were in for a surprise this week.

Instead, Oval Beach was out in full force, complete with skateboarders, slackliners, dog lovers and acrobat-yoga enthusiasts dressed in T-shirts and shorts gathered to enjoy the unusual winter sun.

“Seeing everyone get up and active and seeing Oval Beach come to life has been really enjoyable,” said Elizabeth Neudeck, a second-year in environmental engineering.

Neudeck and her friend Eli Collinson, a fifth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, spent Monday evening sunshine slacklining outside Thompson Library, balancing on a one-inch line stretched between two trees.

Also tied between trees were a number of colorful hammocks. On the ground below one bright orange hammock on the south side of the Oval sat a group of friends surrounded by stacks of notebooks and laptops.

“This is definitely nicer than going to the library to study,” said Elizabeth Heneman, a first-year in exploration. “The second the sun is shining, I’m smiling.”

Many students on Oval Beach echoed those sentiments, noting that the increased amount of sunlight boosted their overall mood.

“The sun’s out so you get that vitamin D,” said Lance Porter, a student in arts, innovation and design, who was skating outside Orton Hall. “And there’s definitely that thing of seasonal depression, so you definitely are all fired up when you wake up in the morning and you see the sun shining through your window.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a type of depression that typically aligns with the beginning and end of winter and affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. every year.

Average high temperatures for Columbus in February are typically about 41 degrees Fahrenheit, but by the temperatures were reaching into the 70s. This month’s unusual weather comes after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association announced earlier this year that the past three years have been the hottest on record.

Students showed concern about NOAA’s findings, but also tried to appreciate the day as best they could.

“I mean, I’m kind of concerned, but at the same time there’s nothing you can really do about it at this point so you might as well enjoy it,” Porter said.

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