Best ways for students to enjoy the sun on a budget

Jackie Keating, Forum contributor

Although we’re still going to be plagued with occasional rainstorms (this is the Pacific Northwest, after all), the weather is getting increasingly better, and students are coming out of their hibernation caves in alarming numbers to soak up some sun.

Therefore, I’ve come up with an inexhaustive list of ways to maximize your spring fun without making too large a dent in your wallet.

Buy a blanket you’re not going to care about

Getting the right picnic blanket is important. It has to be sturdy, like a Pendleton blanket, but ugly, inexpensive and something you won’t care about ruining, unlike a Pendleton. I would head down to the Walmart in Albany and check out their selection of inexpensive items, or you can get a “real” picnic blanket for around $20 on Amazon, which is composed of a water-resistant, mat-like material on one side and a sort of flannel material on the other side. Whatever the case, you’re going to need a blanket that can withstand many different terrains, like the MU quad, the sand on the coast, or a nice spot on Mary’s Peak.

Acquire a rope in order to make a sheet tent

If you’re willing to take your sunshine time one step forward, you can invest in a rope with which to make a secret hideout in your backyard or anywhere with fence posts or trees. Simply tie a rope to two sturdy objects, make sure it’s taut, and cascade a sheet over it, preferably in slow motion as if you’re in an artsy Sundance film. Then pull the two ends of the sheet out and stabilize it with some rocks, so that the end result looks like a crude tent, which is what it is in fact supposed to be. Put your blanket on the ground inside and chuckle to yourself as you hide from your roommates.

Buy sunscreen

I understand that sunblock isn’t exactly cheap, but a sunburn will significantly lessen your enjoyment of the sun for days on end. Have your mom come visit you under the premise that you genuinely enjoy her company, and coerce her into buying sunscreen for you. Now the sunblock is free and you can avoid skin cancer! That’s a win-win situation if I’ve ever seen one.

Catch a baseball or softball game

Would you like an excuse to sit in the sun for hours on end but not feel bad for being unproductive because you are engaging in school spirit? Great! Grab yourself a ticket to one of our baseball or softball games, slather on the sunscreen and be prepared to watch athletes stand around in a field. There will be a baseball game on April 8 at 5:35 p.m., and the softball players will be playing the same day at 3 p.m. Cheer on our Beavs while getting a tan all of your friends will envy.

Purchase a bunch of books from local

bookstores and read while you tan

There’s something more summer-esque about reading a novel in the sun as opposed to doing homework. If you’d like to throw your assigned reading to the wind and engage in some reading you’ll actually enjoy, head to the Corvallis Local Library or one of our local bookstores and peruse some shelves. The Book Bin, Grassroots, and Browser’s Bookstore, all booksellers located downtown, have great options at hard-to-beat prices. And of course the local library has tons of options for free with the use of a library card, which only takes a quick form to attain.

Ideally, you’ll do everything on this list and combine them: you’ll read a locally-acquired book while lying on your all-purpose blankie in your sheet tent while at an outdoor sporting event.

But if this proves impossible, you can try to implement just a few of these in order to make the next few sunny days extra pleasant.


The opinions expressed in Keating’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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