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UA preparing graduates and guests for heat

Posted at 9:17 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 09:17:31-04
The record heat will be pouring down on the caps and gowns of University of Arizona graduating students on Friday. But, the days leading up to it are crucial for U of A staff, who are trying to prepare those attendees before the big day.
"Before the ceremony even starts, we recommend you drink lots of water," a university public service announcement explained. "It's May in Tucson and caps and gowns get very warm in the sun."
That PSA, just one way they are attempting to spread the word. The university has also created a "Heat Plan" on their website. 
"Definitely have up the heat advisories," said Kasey Urquidez. 
It's very different index than what we were seeing last year at this point in time."
Urquidez is the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. 
She says the university has been working to make the ceremony bearable for those attending. 
"We've made a lot of changes over the years," Urquidez explained. "So, that we can make sure that our families enjoy it as much as possible, even in some record heat."
One of those changes was to get rid of the processional. 
In 2014, more than a dozen students had to be treated for heat exhaustion after they were stuck in the sun for too long.
Urquidez says they are making sure to provide plenty of cool-downs this time around. 
"On the field, they'll get their bottle of water. We have what's called 'Water Monsters,' where there's refills that are just endless supply, so they can just refilling their bottle as much as they need to to make sure that they stay hydrated," Urquidez said.
The commencement will take place on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The sun is set to go down by 7:15 p.m. But, Urquidez suggest sitting on the west side to get the best shaded area.