With the arrival of the first heat wave of the central San Joaquin Valley summer season, there undoubtedly will be strained power resources, leading to diminished air quality and general discomfort.
To ease the power strain during summer, California State University, Fresno participates in the Flex Your Power program. Beginning in May and continuing until the beginning of the fall semester, the university operates on a 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. schedule for offices and classes.
On days like Thursday, July 5, when the forecast calls for sustained high temperatures over a significant portion of the state, Fresno State helps out by curtailing all nonessential power use, said Dick Smith, the university’s utilities manager. Student-employees are dispatched throughout the campus to make sure all lights that aren’t needed have been turned off and that thermostats are set at no lower than 78 degrees.
The university is engaged in a project that will allow it to be an even bigger contributor to solving the state’s ever-growing demand for electricity by installing photovoltaic panels atop parking structures. The $11.9 million solar-power project – in partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions (NYSE: CVX) — will generate about 20 percent of Fresno State’s electricity and shade more than 700 parking spaces.
Before that project goes on line in the fall, though, folks who venture to the Fresno State campus will find plenty of cooling opportunities.
First and foremost is the academic campus, where most of the study areas and public events venues are situated. It’s a state arboretum with hundreds of trees in scores of varieties, landscape plantings and vast expanses of lawn combine to provide an environment that feels several degrees cooler than those century-topping temperatures.
On the campus outskirts are 1,000 acres of farmland whose vines, pastures, orchards and row crops provide additional cooling greenery for the Fresno State “oasis” in the heart of Central California’s biggest urban center.
Among the cooling activities available to campus visitors during the summer’s heat:
Fresno State ice cream – Students are involved in every part of the process from growing the feed, looking after the cows and milking to producing the 65 flavors of ice cream in the Dairy Unit and selling it in the Farm Market. Free samples July 10 and other second Tuesdays of each month. Other produce, wine, processed foods and meat available for sale. Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 559.278.4511.
Bowling, billiards, video games – The University Student Union’s Recreation Center is open daily. Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 559.278.2015.
Cooling treats – The Coffee Spot snack bar inside the University Student Union offers smoothies, iced coffee beverages and Fresno State ice cream. Hours 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 559.278.4354.
California State University Summer Arts – Lectures, performances and presentations by acclaimed visual and performing artists take place on campus most evenings throughout July. On Saturday, July 7, for example, there will be two events involving members of the Second City improvisational comedy troupe, (a discussion of the group’s history at 6 p.m. and a performance at 8 p.m.). Phone: 559.278.5109. Details: www.csusummerarts.org.
Lapping up cool – The 25-yard lap pool in the North Gym is open to the public each weekday. Admission: $3 (day pass); summer pass available. Hours: 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Information: 559.278.8532.
Henry Madden Library – Not only can members of the public obtain borrowing cards to check out books, they’ll have a chance to check out the biggest academic construction project in campus history. The Madden Library is in the midst of a $105-million expansion that will make it the largest academic library in the 23-campus California State University system. Hours: 1-8 p.m. Sunday, 7:45 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday. Phone: 559.278.2174. Details: http://www.csufresno.edu/library.
Kennel Bookstore – At the center of the academic campus, this store sells not only school supplies and texts, but an assortment of Fresno State clothing and gifts, snacks, greeting cards and more. Hours: 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Phone: 559.278.4062. Details: http://www.kennelbookstore.com/home.aspx
Cineculture – Friday night is movie night at the Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center in the Student Recreation Center (Woodrow and Shaw avenues). At 5:15 p.m. Friday, July 6, the feature will be “Beyond the Call,” a 2006 film about three middle-aged military veterans and friends who bring humanitarian aid to war front lines. There is no charge for admission. Details: http://cineculture.csufresno.edu/.
While there are shady places to park at Fresno State, these Spare the Air days are a reminder that public transportation is a more efficient way to travel. Fresno State is conveniently accessible via the Clovis and Fresno bus systems.
To ensure that hot temperatures don’t cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke or other serious consequences, here are some suggestions from Steve Martinez, director of environmental health services at California State University, Fresno:
Drink plenty of water all day; don’t wait until you are thirsty.
Avoid food and drink with caffeine, alcohol or high amounts of sugarl, which can dehydrate you.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, if possible.
Eat light meals. Avoid heavy or hot foods that add heat to your body.
Take breaks in cool, well-ventilated, shady places.
Work at a steady pace and try to minimize extra motion or overexertion, especially if working outside.
Try to do your most strenuous work during the coolest part of the day.
Try to stay in the shade when working.
Protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
Wear a hat with a large brim when outside to protect your ears, face and neck.