Sunny Reactions

Warm Winter Interlude

Brings Healthy Outlook

For students, a calm and balmy Friday

takes a new title: ‘The Bomb Dot Com’

Like most other Elon University students, Katherine Saffelle was elated with the 70-degree weather in mid-February, especially with the seductive notion that below-freezing temperatures were finished for the season.

“I want it to stay this way the rest of spring, or get even hotter,” said the first-year student from Richmond, Va.

Saffelle found more than a few advantages in the warm weather pattern. For sure, the nice weather welcomed chances to toss Frisbees with friends or to slide bare feet back into comfortable flip-flops.  But she prized the greater virtues of the arrival of pleasant, sunny  weather, she explained, because of what it generated throughout the campus: More activity and more happiness.

“It seems like a healthier environment when it is nice out,” she said.

Saffelle was not alone in that view on Friday.  On a mid-winter day when students and staff members at Elon normally zip up and shiver on treks across a frigid campus, many were enraptured this time with the promises of springlike conditions.

When a team of 18 Media Writing students spread across campus to sample community reactions, they heard the same optimistic remarks repeated in various cadences. People commonly noted exercise, open roads, leisurely strolls, various states of repose, comparisons with snow-back-home and, alas, the frustrations of handling work on perhaps the most perfect Friday ever.

Almost no one mentioned what had been the prevailing and unwelcome topic just a week or so earlier, namely the flu.

Sudden Destination

For some, warm weather meant a sudden ambition to go home – as long as home remained in the climactic belt of balmy weather.

Nick Rourke, a first-year student from Wilmington, grabbed his hammock as he departed his second-floor room in Sloan dormitory.

He said that he loved the warm weather so much that it “makes me want to skip class, but I’m not going to.”

Rourke’s plans for this weekend include going home for the weekend to visit the beach and play Frisbee.

Lindsay Trigoboff, a first-yar student from Fayetteville, was excited to go home with her boyfriend to play and watch soccer in the refreshing warm weather.

She was looking forward to attending a high school soccer tournament while she’s home, which is being held at her alma mater.

Baron Smith, a freshman from Winston-Salem, strolled to the Varsity grill wearing shorts and a plain white T-shirt.

“I actually have my private pilot license,” he said, “and I’m driving home to fly with my dad tonight.”

Weather 101: Compare and Contrast

A lot of Elon students compared the unusual weather to what they left behind in their distant homes.  The contrasts on Friday made Elon look mighty good – at least while the weather remained so alluring.

Jared Allen, a freshman from New York, was so happy on Friday he could not stop singing while looking for his keys.

“I am super excited,” he said. “It makes me very happy because I’m from New York and they have 6 feet of snow, and I’m not there!”

He planned on taking full advantage of the day by taking a quick nap and then savoring a picnic with friends.  But all that would need to wait, he noted with a touch of irritation, because he had more dance classes to finish first.

New Jersey native Alyssa Fonseca, a first-year student, was delighted about the unusual 70-degree weather in the heart of winter.

While concentrating on homework in the library, she looked forward to playing Frisbee outside and teaching her noon yoga class for Campus Recreation.

“I used to go to school in Mass.,” Fonseca said.  “It’s a lot different here.  I love it!”

Transfer student Kyle Shoemaker, a junior from Simsbury, Conn., moved to Elon from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.

“It makes me so much happier that I go to school here instead of up north,” he said.

Shoemaker made a plan for the day:  wear shorts, go for a run and eat lunch outside.

Freshman Caroline Henley said she didn’t recognize the weather pattern when February turned warm in North Carolina.  She knows heat, though, since she is originally from Miami, Fla.

“It’s a nice change,” she said. “I hope it stays.”

Jeff Ouellette, a freshman from Scituate, Mass., laughed off a comparison of weather between his hometown and Elon.

“Scituate is a lot colder,” he said. “It’s miserable.”

Ouellette was out of class early and planned to play outdoor basketball with a couple of friends.

Tommy McDermott, a first-year student from Melrose, Mass., also was smiling as he recalled that “I’m pretty sure there’s like 2 feet of snow back home.”

His sandals clicked as he walked away.

A freshman from Lewisburg, Penn., Kevin Hall was on his way to grab lunch with a friend when the topic of the warm weather came up.

“I absolutely love it,” he said. “It is gorgeous and perfect outside.”

He laughed as if he had just won the lottery.

Better than Belgium

A cheerful Haley Goss celebrated the warm temperature by wearing a vibrant  sun dress Friday.  In her first year at Elon after living in Belgium, she said the contrast with Northern Europe made the weather a lot nicer for her.

“I love the weather,” she said.  “Belgium is like London; it rains all the time.”

Freshman Sebastian Koch traveled here from Munich, Germany, to play basketball and is already adapting to a major climate change.

Sitting at a wooden table outside of McEwen Dining Hall, Koch explained that he loved the weather because he could never wear shorts during February in Germany.  The same happy sensation spilled over into productivity.

“It’s harder to do anything because I just want to be outside” he said.

A first-year soccer player from Arizona, Simi Daliwhal loves warm weather and hopes higher temperatures will stay.  Earlier freezing temperatures, she said, had been “too cold to function.”

In fact, even the warmth wasn’t helping her off-season functioning much.  Looking regretfully down at the boot keeping her sprained foot under wraps, she said the balmy weather still offered one useful consolation.

“At least I don’t have to wear 15 layers to sit on the sideline watching the soccer team practice anymore,” she said.

If the weather did indeed pose a problem for many people on campus Friday, it was, as Koch mentioned, in getting things done.

Growing up in Livingston, N.J., sophomore Melissa Kansky was excited about the early change of seasons – if it lasts – in North Carolina.  She planned to celebrate the weather’s turn with her brother, who is visiting.  But she still had work to do, she said, while scanning her Blackboard academic website from inside Sloan dormitory.

“I love the weather, but I find myself putting work off until the last minute just so that I can enjoy the sun with my friends.”

Spring Comes to Winter

And then there were the college rituals that the warm weather foreshadowed.As she moved around her sunlit room getting ready, Karrah Fleshman, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was preparing for an afternoon in the sun. After her 1:40 p.m. class, she would grab her tanning equipment and lie out on the grass outside of Sloan.

The sunny days had Fleshman thinking ahead to Spring Break in late March. She and friends are heading to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where they have rented a beach house for the week.

Atlanta freshman Addie Haney is enjoying the shift in temperature.

“It’s really nice to walk outside without having to be bundled up,” she said.

Warmer weather has meant more outdoor playtime for Haney and her hallmates. She and others on Sloan’s Communications Learning Community spent last Monday playing Frisbee outside until sunset.

Bella Bouchard, a sophomore from Boston, was in high spirits as she studied at Belk Library, awaiting a sunny afternoon when she planned to sunbathe on the lawn in front of Moseley Center.  Until then, her challenge was to go to class rather than to “play Frisbee with the boys outside.”

Bouchard was excited about the warm weekend to come.

“I can finally wear my spring clothes,” she said.

Sophomore Kara Johnson from Raleigh enjoyed her walk to class in the sunshine.  Johnson recalled the chill a week earlier.  This was better.

“I’m gonna do some basketball and volleyball outside today,” she said.

Freshman Reid Van Syckle of Summit, N.J., set up his workspace outside to enjoy the sun.

He preferred the warmth over his hometown’s 40-degree weather.

“I plan to be outside as much as possible today,” he said.

Dominic Del Corso of Burlington was making sandwiches for hungry Elon students at the Acorn Coffee Shop.

As he placed a cucumber on the soon-to-be-sandwich in front of him, all he could talk about was the 70-degree weather.

“I love it!” he said. “I hope it doesn’t stop.”

Kevin Lasley, a campus landscaper, had many reasons to enjoy the warm weather, mostly because of his job.  Working outside from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily is a much more pleasant experience if he doesn’t have to be bundled up in multiple layers.

As he and other landscapers spread pine needles, he said his job “ain’t that bad,” chuckling and lifting his sunglasses from his eyes.

Megan Chase, a first-year student from Korea majoring in International Studies, was running through campus for her daily exercise.

“Warm weather is the bomb dot com,” she said.

Lisa Archie, a sophomore from Greensboro, majors in human services and plays on the Elon basketball team.  To her, the weather was a bit hard to scout.

“This weather is nice but weird,” she said, “because one day it’s freezing then it’s hot, then freezing again. Its inconsistent.”

Suzanne Bell, a sophomore from Summit, N.J., was surprisingly upbeat for being stuck inside working on a beautiful Friday. Bell said she was loving the new warm weather and was excited about the day even though she had to work for two more hours.

“I’m loving the weather, but I am very conflicted on what to wear because it’s so cold in the morning, so I try to dress in layers so I can always be prepared for any temperature.”

Danielle White, a junior from Avon, Conn., said the warm weather made her day better.  Her problem, though, was that she was working indoors at the technology desk at Belk Library until 3 p.m.

“Wish I could go play tennis,” she said.

Joy DeBolt, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, thinks that the warm weather is great because it puts everyone in better spirits, especially on their walks between classes. She felt no need to rush to class but admitted the stroll was likely her main way to enjoy the warmth because she was involved with studies, organizations and meetings.

“I have a very busy schedule today,” she said.

Amy Vaughn, program assistant for West Area Residence Life, loved the warm weather like most others around campus.

“It’s a huge gift,” Vaughn said with great enthusiasm.

She was excited to drive to Chapel Hill in the afternoon, anticipating an enjoyable roll down a Carolina interstate.  Unfortunately there would be no reclining in the sun at home.  She planned to use the warm weather to clean out her garage.

New York native Jimmy Tyler, an Acorn Coffee Shop barista who is famously known as a Yankees fan, was happy about the warm weather as well.

“I like this weather compared to how it usually is in February,” he said. “It means spring is coming, and with spring means being outside and, of course, baseball season.”

Julia Crowley, a senior from Oakton, Va, was strolling to her car in the warmth even though she was headed to Pennsylvania for cross purposes.

“I’m actually going skiing in Pennsylvania tonight,” she said, “which is ironic.”

Clifton Johnson, the assistant director of Moseley Center, stood at the information desk dreading the thought of being inside all day in his windowless office.  Like everyone else on campus, he was thinking of reasons to get outdoors, if only for a brief pause in the inviting air.

He loved the warm weather, he observed, as well as the predictable reactions, noting how the students had quickly adapted from overcoats to shorts and summer clothes.

“But soon,” he added, “it will be cold again, and everyone gets sick.”

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