MARSHALL - Southwest Minnesota State University students are pretty much taking the heat in stride this week, dealing well with temperatures in the high 90s. Some residence halls don't have air conditioning so the Student Center is not only a popular hangout, but a place to crash as well.
"They (SMSU officials) have been really nice about keeping the buildings open that have air conditioning," said Lisa Hohenstein, a third-year hospital management major who lives in Clapper, a residence hall with no air conditioning. "When you're ready to sleep, it's cool enough, and the fans get the air going."
The Student Center is open 24 hours through Friday. Signs were previously posted saying the center will be open 24 hours through today and then until midnight the rest of the week, but officials have been keeping an eye on the weather and have adjusted the hours policy to accommodate the heat, said Scott Crowell, dean of students.
"The Student Center and the conference center are open this week 24 hours," he said.
Students are sleeping there as well.
"We've had 80 a night so far," Crowell said.
Pepsi of Pipestone has donated bottles of water to help keep the students hydrated.
"Pepsi of Pipestone brought in an entire pallet, a significant amount, along with coolers, so students can pick up water bottles at the student center," Crowell said.
Comfort Inn is offering reduced rates to students if they choose to ditch their rooms for an air conditioned hotel room.
Along with an opportunity to stay in a hotel room, students can "bunk on the floor of residence halls that have air conditioning or with friends in the community," Crowell said.
Haley Larson, a third-year elementary education major, lives in the Foundation Residence Apartments on Birch Street, which have air conditioning and has had friends sleep on her couch this week.
Freshman Thomas Knudson has been sleeping in his un-air conditioned room in Charisma and is fine with the heat, he said.
"I can tolerate the heat OK with fans, but I stayed all night last night in the student center," he said.
Knudson said he did it just to hang out with friends.
"We slept on couches and chairs," he said.
Entertainment was provided this week, the first week of fall semester.
"We had a comedian Tuesday night in the Student Center," said Crowell. "We had 240 show up for that. That went until 11:30, and it went over very well."
In addition to the student center, the library and computer rooms are air conditioned and have been open until midnight this week.
Crowell said the high temperatures are scheduled to ease up this weekend, according to reports.
"We've been watching the weather, and we're looking at overnight temperatures of 63 degrees on Saturday and 51 degrees Sunday," he said.