Living in Lawrence
This section includes the following information:
- A Place to Live
- Care of Valuables and Personal Safety
- Community Activities
- Financial Information
- Health and Medical Care
- Recreation and Entertainment
A Place to Live
It may not be easy to find a good, inexpensive place for you or your family to live. You can find many apartments through advertisements on the internet. Some websites that might be useful for your search are Apartment Finder, Apartment Guide, or the Apartments.com website.
If you rent an apartment or a house, the owner may ask you to sign a lease. This is a legal agreement between you and the owner of the building about payments, repairs, and what to do when you move out of the apartment. Be sure you read the lease carefully and understand it before you sign your name. The Applied English Center staff will read the agreement with you if you bring it to our office. Student Legal Services can also explain the legal requirements of the lease before you sign.
Apartments in the United States are rented furnished or unfurnished. Furnished means that basic furniture, such as tables, chairs, beds, a stove and a refrigerator, is in the apartment. However, you must bring your own dishes, silverware, pots and pans, sheets, blankets, and other things that you need. Unfurnished means that the owner provides no furniture, or else provides only a refrigerator and stove. If a stove and refrigerator are in the apartment, make sure the lease says that they are provided by the owner.
You will probably pay for utilities (water, electricity, gas), but the owners of some apartments may pay for one or more of the utilities. Your lease should say who (you or the owner) pays for water, electricity, and gas. Most customers must pay the utility companies a deposit (an amount of money). Deposit money might be returned after one year of service or when you move out of the apartment.
The City of Lawrence Water Department operates the water system. Some apartments may be “all electric” with electricity for heat and cooking, but other apartments will have gas for cooking, heating and/or water heating. Aquila provides natural gas. Westar provides electricity to homes in Lawrence. Utility charges (gas or electricity) for heat during cold weather and air conditioning during hot weather may be very expensive. Before renting an apartment you should ask the owner about average utility charges.
You can look at KU’s Good Neighbor Program for many useful resources and important information about living off campus. Contact KU Student Affairs for more information.
Care of Valuables and Personal Safety
- Do not carry large amounts of money. Use either personal checks or traveler’s checks.
- Do not send paper money or coins by mail (it is illegal). Use checks or money orders.
- Do not leave valuables, especially money, in your car or classroom.
- Always lock your car when it is parked. Lock your bicycle or moped to an immovable object with a good bike lock.
- Lock your room or apartment when you leave, even if you are only going to be away for a few minutes.
- Take your valuables with you or leave them with a trusted friend if you leave Lawrence for a school vacation. KU vacations are high crime periods in Lawrence.
- Do not go out alone at night.
- If you are on campus and need emergency help, you can contact the KU Police Department by using one of the emergency phones indicated by a blue light pole located at various points around campus. Simply pick up the telephone receiver and a police car will automatically be sent to your location. There are also yellow call boxes located in campus buildings. To operate a call box push the button, wait for an answer and talk to the person. The boxes are usually located by elevators.
What Every Person Should Know
You can read more about safety at KU (including the KU Crime Report) on the KU Public Safety website.
Here is some information from the Douglas County Rape Victim Support Project. Rape and sexual assault are serious, violent, and frightening crimes against women, men and children. A rape is reported in the U.S. every 12 seconds and rape is one of the fastest growing crimes committed in this society. Criminologists estimate that four to ten times as many rapes are committed as are reported. Rapes occur at any hour of any day of any season. The victims are young and old, of all races, sexually experienced and inexperienced. Victims find the experience painful, humiliating, and emotionally disturbing. Important things to remember are that the rapist is looking for the easiest victim and that the rapist may well be someone known by the victim. Regardless of who you are, you too may become a victim of rape or sexual assault.
Here are some suggestions to prevent rape and sexual assault.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Be alert when you are alone
- Be discrete about your personal plans
- Consider what you would do if attacked
- Lock doors and windows
- Never open your door to a stranger
- Ask repairmen for identification
- List initials (not first name) and last name on mailbox and in the phone directory
In your car:
- Check the back seat of car before entering
- Lock doors when driving or parked
- If you are followed, do not go home; drive to a busy area or to the police station
On the street:
- Walk purposefully; even when you are lost, appear alert and confident
- Avoid walking alone
- Head for the nearest lights or people if someone is following you
- Stay close to the curb and away from alleys, bushes and doorways
- Support for victims of rape and sexual assault is available by calling 785-841-2345. For more information, request a booklet from the AEC cross-cultural advisors.
In American culture, it is very common for male and female students to spend time together. Spending time together does not necessarily mean that two people of the opposite sex have a romantic relationship. It is normal and acceptable to be ‘just friends’ with someone of the opposite sex. Male and female friends can talk, spend time together, eat meals together, or do activities they both enjoy together without becoming romantic or sexually involved.
Before two people begin a romantic or sexual relationship, it is very important that they communicate clearly with each other. Any relationship must be consensual, which means that both people must want to become “more than friends” before they start a romantic or physical relationship. In addition, it is very important that both people are comfortable and happy to be in any romantic relationship that they are in. Either person can choose to end the romantic or sexual relationship at any time that they choose by telling their partner that they want it to end. It is NEVER okay for someone to pressure, intimidate, or threaten another person to become romantically or sexually active if he or she does not want to. You can find more information about consensual relationships on the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center website.
Dating and romantic relationships can often include verbal and nonverbal language and behaviors that might be confusing because of cultural differences. If you have any questions or concerns about what appropriate behavior for dating in the U.S. is, please make an appointment to talk to a cross-cultural advisor.
KU takes sexual harassment very seriously, and it is important for every student to understand what it means. What is sexual harassment?
Sexual Harassment can mean:
- Trying to develop a romantic or sexual relationship with someone who does not want it;
- Making comments about another person’s body or sexual activities;
- Threatening to perform a sexual act with someone who does not want to;
- Continuing to pay a lot of attention to someone who wants it to stop;
- Sending inappropriate photos, texts, or messages to someone who does not want them, or posting any inappropriate photos or messages about someone on social media;
- Touching or getting close to someone in a way that makes the person uncomfortable;
- Making jokes or teasing someone about sex or about their gender or sexual orientation;
- Speaking or acting aggressively to someone, or intimidating someone about anything related to sex, gender or sexual orientation.
Students who are found responsible for committing sexual harassment will be disciplined by the university and may also face criminal charges.
If you have any questions about other behaviors that might be sexual harassment, or if you are in a situation that feels like sexual harassment, it is very important to ask for help. The University has many ways to support and protect victims of sexual harassment.
If you have concerns or questions about sexual harassment, please make an appointment to see a cross-cultural advisor. More information about sexual harassment is available on the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX website.
It may be difficult to find care for babies and toddlers (ages 0–3), but for preschoolers (ages 3–5) there are several options.
A preschool or nursery school provide academic and social preparation for elementary school. Most preschools accept children between the ages of two and five, but some may accept younger children. Some preschools have classes for only two or three hours a day, but other preschools may also provide daycare. The University of Kansas has a preschool called Hilltop Child Development Center.
A day care center is a place that keeps children while their parents are working or studying. Most centers are open from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but times may vary from center to center. Many day care centers take children between the ages of two and five, and some centers may accept younger children. Some centers even take babies under one year of age. Some apartment complexes have a child care program. Day care centers may or may not provide academic and social programs to prepare children for school.
A babysitter is a person who takes care of your child either in your home or in the sitter’s home. A babysitter may take a child of any age for a short time or all day. A babysitter does not usually provide any kind of training for the child.
Child care providers in the Lawrence area must be licensed or registered if they provide services outside the child’s home, such as at a center, school, or in the provider’s own home. Providers who work in your home are not licensed or registered. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has a list of licensed or registered day care providers that you can pick up. A google search for child care programs in the area will also display several daycare centers and preschools that you can contact for more information.
In Kansas, children can begin public school at age five. The child’s fifth birthday must be on or before September 1. The Lawrence School District requires proof (in English) of the day, month and year of birth. The first year of school is called kindergarten and most meet only a half-day, either morning or afternoon. All children between the ages of six and sixteen are required by law to attend school. Some immunizations (vaccinations) are required for students attending schools. All immunizations must be completed within 90 days after the child begins school. Immunizations are available at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department or from any private doctor.
To find out about the public schools in Lawrence, please contact the Lawrence Unified School District office. To enroll your child in the public schools, you should have your child’s birth certificate, health and immunization records, and school records. If your child is sick or will be absent for any other reason, you should call the school. Parents receive four written reports each year of their child’s progress in school. Once in October and once in March, parents are asked to meet with teachers to talk about their child’s work. Other meetings may be requested by the teacher or parent.
There is a special program in the public schools to help international children learn English quickly. This special English instruction and the regular class work will help the children adjust to their new town.
Children’s clothes are often expensive, and children may wear them for only a short time because they are growing. A cheaper way to get children’s clothes is to buy used or secondhand clothes. There are several stores in Lawrence where you can buy gently used children’s clothes, such as The Salvation Army, Goodwill, Malula Kids Resale, and 2 Shy Kids.
Another way to buy children’s clothes is online. Many people will sell gently used children’s clothes on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.org. This is a convenient way to find clothes or other items at a good price. However, if you arrange to buy something from someone online, always meet the seller in a public place, such as a store parking lot or café. Do not invite the seller to your home or go to a stranger’s home to make the purchase.
Lastly, garage or yard sales are a great place to look for children’s clothes. These are sales that people have outside their homes. These sales are common on weekends during the spring, summer, and fall. You may see signs for garage sales along the streets in Lawrence. They are also frequently advertised online if you search for “garage sales in Lawrence, KS.” Children’s clothes often sell very quickly at garage and yard sales, so you need to go early.
There are several ways that spouses or family members who are not enrolled at KU can meet other people and learn English.
Small World is a voluntary community organization that brings American and international women together for English classes.
The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department offers many different classes for adults and children. There are classes in handicrafts, arts, and sports. This is a good way to meet some American people.
The Lawrence Arts Center offers classes for adults and children in subjects such as painting, dance and theater.
The Lawrence Public Library holds many community events for people of all ages. Check their website to see resources and events available for anyone in Lawrence.
You should keep most of your money safely deposited in a bank or savings institution, except for the amount needed for daily expenses. You can open a savings account, a checking account, or both, at a bank. Money kept in a savings account will make money for you in the form of interest. You can deposit and withdraw money from a savings account whenever you wish. A checking account allows you to write checks to withdraw money to pay for items and services at local businesses. Some banks and savings institutions require you to keep a minimum amount of money in a checking account; others do not. Some banks charge you each time you write a check; others do not.
There are a number of banks and savings institutions in Lawrence to choose from. You should choose a bank that fits your needs and the type of account that would be most beneficial to you. The AEC cross-cultural advisors or the Office of International Student Services (ISS) can help you understand the various kinds of services offered by these institutions in Lawrence.
You should use a check or other secure form of payment for any business transactions if a large amount of money is involved, for example, buying a car or paying your rent. If you pay in cash, be sure to get a complete receipt. Receipts or canceled checks should always be kept as proof of payment.
You should not sign any contracts or business papers unless you completely understand them. You should talk to the Office of International Student Services, Legal Services for Students, or the AEC cross-cultural advisors before completing contracts.
Keeping Good Records
You should always keep a record of checks that you write so that you will not spend more money than you have in your account. It is against the law to write checks for more money than you have in your checking account. Banks will add an extra charge for each “insufficient funds” check, and you will usually have to pay an extra charge to the person or business to whom the check was written.
If you need to borrow money, it is best to do so from the university or from your bank. The Office of Student Financial Aid or International Student Services (ISS) may be able to assist you, but their funds are often very limited. Before you borrow money you should consult with ISS staff or the AEC cross-cultural advisors.
Credit cards are used for purchases without using cash and are issued by banks, various stores, gasoline companies, and dining associations. Your name and account number are stamped on the card. When you make a purchase with a credit card, the cost and the information on the card are recorded. You will get a monthly bill for all your purchases. Extra charges are added for bills that are not paid each month. If you use a bank checking card or debit card to buy something, the amount of the purchase is deducted from your checking or savings account. Lost cards should be reported immediately. It is advisable for students from abroad to use cash or checks rather than credit cards.
Other Types of Payment
In most cases, your personal check will be accepted. However, in the case of money sent abroad or very large sums of money, or if you do not have a checking account, you can use other forms of payment. You can buy “money orders” at any bank, at the Post Office, and at some stores. “Cashier’s checks” from your bank can also be used. Most businesses now accept various forms of online payments; however, pay attention to any processing fees they may charge.
Most stores require at least two forms of identification when paying by check. KU student identification cards may or may not be accepted by stores. Each store has its own rules for identification. The most common form of identification is a Kansas Driver’s License. If you do not drive, the State of Kansas also has an official Kansas identification card, which you can buy at the Douglas County Driver's License Examiner. Many stores have their own check cashing cards. If you want one of these, you need to apply for them at the stores.
When traveling, you should use traveler’s checks for large sums of money. You can buy them from any bank at a one-percent charge. You can cash them at banks, hotels, and most stores. It is not wise to carry more than a small sum of currency.
In the United States, a service charge or tip is not included in the bill. If you eat in a restaurant or ride in a taxi, you should give money equivalent to 15-20 percent of the total bill to the waiter or waitress or taxi driver. If you have your hair cut or styled, you should plan to give the person approximately 15-20 percent of the total bill. Tips are not given in theaters or at gas stations.
“Phishing” is when someone tries to get your personal information (social security number, date of birth, account number, card number, PIN number, mother’s maiden name) over the phone or through email. They say they are from a company, but they are not. They may show you a website that looks like a company website, but it is not. They want this information so they can get your money out of your bank account or get a credit card in your name. Never give personal information by email or phone. If you get an email like this, print it and take it to the International Student Services Office or to an AEC cross-cultural advisor. If you get a phone call like this, get their phone number and tell the caller that you will call them back later. Then talk with someone in the International Student Services Office or to an AEC cross-cultural advisor.
Health and Medical Care
Watkins Health Center
The Student Health Service at Watkins Health Center provides health care for students of the university. You pay a health fee as part of the university enrollment fee. This fee prepays for many services: medical evaluations and examinations, most treatment for illnesses and injuries, dietary advice, and the first visit for physical therapy and mental health services.
Other services, such as medications, X‑rays and minor surgery, are not entirely covered by the health fee. You may get an itemized bill for these services. You or your insurance company must pay these bills. You can use the Health Center between semesters, but you will be charged for all services used between semesters.
Dental care is not available at Watkins. Health care for families of students is not normally provided at Watkins except for emergency services.
During the regular semester, the Health Service is open 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Sunday. There is an after-hours charge after 4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday, after 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and all day Sunday. Spring break and between-semester hours are 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily. The Health Center is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day. You must have your KUID with you to receive medical treatment.
All international students are required to have health insurance. You received information when you attended International Student Services (ISS) Orientation meetings. Visit the ISS website for more information about insurance.
Private Doctors, Dentists, and Eye Doctors
You can find local private doctors, specialists, dentists, and eye doctors (optometrists or ophthalmologists) by searching online, or check with the AEC cross-cultural advisors or the Office of International Student Services if you need assistance.
Prenatal and Family Care
If you or someone in your family is pregnant, it is important to get early care. Most American doctors charge one fee for prenatal care (care during pregnancy) and delivery (birth) of the baby no matter when a woman comes to them for care. Going to a doctor early in a pregnancy will help ensure the health of mother and child.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department gives some health care services to people in the community. These services include a well-baby clinic, family planning, pregnancy testing, and an immunization clinic. You must call for an appointment. Public health services in the United States do not provide complete health care, so, for most health care, your family will have to go to a private doctor.
Urgent Care and Emergency Room Visits
There are some walk-in medical clinics (First Med, MedExpress, PromptCare, CVS Minute Clinic) which are open seven days a week. You do not need an appointment to go to one of these walk-in clinics. These clinic can treat illnesses, such as ear infections, sore throats, coughs, or minor injuries.
The emergency room of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital is available to anyone, but should be used only in true emergencies. The emergency room is not a primary care facility and should not be used for routine medical care like colds or flu. You should go to the emergency room if you have a serious illness or injury, or if your regular doctor instructs you to go there.
If you or your spouse wants to work, check with International Student Services before you accept a job. You must get permission before you can take a job. People who have F-2 visas are not permitted to work at all.
Recreation and Entertainment
KU Recreation Services is a large recreational center located on campus. The Center has a climbing wall, basketball courts, racquet and squash courts, facilities for table tennis, showers and lockers. There is also a weight room. It is open daily. You will need your KUID card in order to get into the Center. When you visit the Center, ask for a copy of the booklet A Guide to Recreation Services. It contains more information on the Center and it is free.
Lakes and Parks
Marvin Grove is an area of shady walnut trees located behind Strong and Bailey halls.
Potter Lake is a lovely, quiet pond nestled in the grassy area between the Campanile and Joseph R. Pearson Hall (JRP).
Pioneer Cemetery is located across Iowa Street from Ellsworth Hall. Some original Lawrence settlers and victims of the infamous Quantrill’s Raid are buried in this cemetery.
Prairie Acre is located at the corner of Sunflower Road and Sunnyside Avenue. It is an unplowed, undisturbed section of prairie surrounded by a fence of stacked native prairie stone. If you want to see what Kansas really used to look like, you should see this spot.
Student Union Activities (SUA) shows several movies throughout the year and admission is free. You can get a schedule of films for the current semester from the SUA office.
The Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art is one of the finest university museums in the nation and there is no charge for admission.
The Museum of Natural History has a panorama of North American wildlife, a live snake and bee collection, fossils and minerals, Native American artifacts, and Comanche, a famous horse in American history. There are six floors to the museum and admission is free, although donations are accepted.
The Kenneth Spencer Research Library contains a collection of rare old books that might be fun to look at.
The university has a radio station, KANU-FM 91.5. KANU is publicly supported and features jazz, classical, and bluegrass music, news and feature reports, and live coverage of special events—local, national, and international. There is also a student operated radio station at KJHK 90.7.
Concerts and Theaters
Several concerts and theater presentations occur each semester. To find out more, contact KU Info or watch for posters and announcements on campus bulletin boards. Tickets are available for most concerts and theater productions at the University Theater Box Office or at the Lied Center.
Lakes and Parks
Douglas County State Lake is located south of Lawrence on Haskell Road. It is an excellent place to go for a picnic or to go fishing. No swimming is allowed. Lone Star Lake is located southwest of Lawrence. Follow highway US-59 to the Wakarusa River bridge; take County Road 459 west; after about six miles, take the first blacktop road left. Picnicking facilities, swimming, a playground, showers, and boats for rent are available. Perry Lake is the largest of the area lakes. It is located northwest of Lawrence. Follow US-24 north and west to the edge of Perry. Then follow the signs north. There are two state parks nearby with boating, swimming, camping, and fishing facilities. Clinton Lake is located four miles west of Lawrence on 23rd Street (also called Clinton Parkway). This lake has 72 miles of shoreline. You can go swimming, fishing, camping, boating and skiing.
Lawrence is famous for its many beautiful parks. If you are looking for something to do in the great out-of-doors, try a park! Visit the City of Lawrence website for more information.
The Watkins Museum of History is housed in an old bank and contains a restored 19th century play house, and a 1920 electric car.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is located in Kansas City and is well worth the trip to see. The museum is well known for its exceptional collection of Oriental art. The museum is open every day except Mondays. Admission is free on Saturdays.
There are two newspapers in the Lawrence area. The Lawrence Journal-World is published every day. You can choose to subscribe through their website if you want access to their articles. You can have it delivered to your door. It is delivered by a paper carrier. To start service, go to the Journal-World office downtown and make your first payment. You will then be billed by mail each month until you cancel your subscription. The Newspaper Readership Program provides the Lawrence Journal-World free of charge at various campus locations. It also provides the Kansas City Star, USA Today, New York Times, and the Washington Post. The University Daily Kansan (UDK) is the KU student newspaper. You can pick up a copy from the newspaper boxes on campus. The UDK is published daily, Monday through Friday, during the fall and spring semesters, and once a week during the summer session. The Lawrence newspapers have advertisements of sale prices on food, clothing and other things you need, as well as notices of activities at KU and in Lawrence.
For a list of favorite places to listen to music and dance, ask your AEC instructors or other KU students!
The Lawrence community has two stations: KLWN-AM 1320 and KLZR-FM 105.9. Most students listen to FM 105.9 because it plays more popular music.
There are many restaurants in Lawrence. For a list of favorites, check the Yellow Pages of the Lawrence Phone Directory, ask your AEC instructors or visit the lawrence.com website.
Robinson Center has an indoor pool that is free to students, faculty and staff. Check with the Center at 864-3491 for times available. The indoor pool at Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center, 6th and Wakarusa, is open all year. The Municipal Pool is an outdoor pool at 7th and Kentucky and is open every day during the summer from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. There is a charge to use these pools.
You can travel in Lawrence by foot, bicycle, bus, or taxi, or you may want to buy a car because it is very convenient.
Local Bus Service
There are two bus services in Lawrence, KU on Wheels and the Lawrence Transit System. KU on Wheels is financed by the Student Activity Fee that all KU and AEC students pay as part of their tuition. You can ride KU on Wheels and Lawrence Transit System buses free of charge with your KU ID. For information on bus routes, fares, and hours of operation for the Lawrence Transit System, visit the Lawrence Transit website.
The Lawrence Transit System also has a Night Line service that operates from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday to Saturday; cost is $2 per person, cash only; you must make an advance reservation during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday. This service is not available on Sunday. You can read more about this service on the Lawrence Transit website.
To drive a car, you must have a valid driver’s license and liability insurance. You and your spouse can get Kansas Driver’s Licenses by passing a test given by the Kansas Highway Department. You can take the written test Tuesday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You must take your valid passport and I-94 to the exam and another form of identification such as a birth certificate or KU ID. More information is available on the Douglas County Driver's License Examiner website.
You will need a license plate for your car. To get one, you will need proof that you own the car. This proof is your title if you just bought a new car or are registering a car from another state, or the title and a notarized bill of sale if you just bought a used car. You will also need proof of insurance. Take these to the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office at 11th and Massachusetts Streets. If you are registering a car with title in another state, a member of the Kansas Highway Patrol will verify your vehicle’s identification number. There is a $10 charge (that must be paid in cash) for this. When you register your car, you will also pay personal property tax, which is determined by the value of your car. You may also have to pay sales tax.
International Student Services has information on buying, licensing and insuring cars. Before buying a car, please go to International Student Services (ISS) and ask for information on buying a car.
Kansas has laws regarding car seats and car restraints for children. The laws are different depending on the age and the weight of the child. If you have questions about these laws make an appointment to talk with a cross-cultural advisor at the AEC office. Children’s car seats can prevent most serious injuries if they are used correctly. Most department stores sell car seats. You should read the directions for these seats carefully and use them correctly. Some seats are made for smaller, younger children (under 20 pounds) and others are for bigger, older children. Before you buy a car seat, be sure you have the right size seat.
KU SafeRide can provide rides for KU students between 10:30 PM and 2:30 AM during the regular school year. Availability is limited to the weekends during the summer months.
Bicycles and Mopeds
Many students have a bicycle or moped. These are allowed on campus. You must buy a parking permit for a moped from the Parking Department. Bicycle registration is not mandatory but is strongly recommended. You may register your bicycle at KU Public Safety or the Lawrence Police Department. Write down and take with you the serial number from your bike. You should buy a good bicycle security chain and lock to protect your bike or moped from theft.
Weather in Lawrence
Winter storms usually start in Lawrence in December or early January. You should expect cold temperatures (–5°C to –15°C) and some snow and ice during this time. You will need a heavy coat, gloves, hats, and warm shoes or boots to stay warm and healthy during the winter. If you don’t have heavy clothing, you can consider trying the second-hand clothing stores in Lawrence. You can often find good quality items there for less money.
It is sometimes dangerous to drive or walk on snow or ice. Shoes or boots made for walking in snow may prevent you from falling down on campus. Special snow tires or “chains” may keep your car from sliding. Your car should have thin (10W) or multi-grade (10W-30 or 10W-40) oil during the winter. Your battery should be in good working condition or your car won’t start. The Lawrence Battery Company (903 N. 2nd Street) will check your battery for you. Your car must also have anti-freeze in the water system or your engine will be damaged in cold weather.
University and AEC classes are sometimes canceled when the weather conditions make travel in Lawrence hazardous. You will receive an email if classes are canceled due to weather, and local radio and TV stations will announce class cancellations. It is also recommended that you sign up for text message alerts through your KU account.
Winter in Lawrence can be beautiful and exciting for students who have not lived in cold climates. However, it is also a time when greater care is needed to avoid illness and injury.
Summer weather in Lawrence is quite hot and humid. Daytime temperatures range from 80°F to 105°F (26°C–40°C), but it is usually cooler at night. The extreme humidity makes it seem warmer than it really is. You should be careful about spending too much time out in the sun because the heat of the sun can not only cause sunburns, but can also cause heat stroke. If you feel yourself becoming weak while out in the sun, you should seek a cool, shady place to rest. Avoid going into air-conditioned buildings after being outside for a long time. The rapid change in temperature can make you feel ill.
Most students dress very casually in the summer months. Women wear dresses or skirts and blouses, and sometimes shorts and T-shirts. Men wear light pants and shirts and also wear shorts in the hot weather. You should wear loose fitting clothing that is comfortable. Do not be surprised to see university faculty wearing shorts and sandals to classes. They like to be comfortable in the heat, too!
The early and late summer is also a time when tornadoes occur in the Midwest. A tornado is a violent whirling wind with a rapidly rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that usually destroys everything along its narrow path. It can cause death if persons are not careful. Lawrence has a warning system of very loud sirens that sound when danger is immediate (they sound like an air-raid siren). The Sirens are tested at noon the first Monday of the month from Aug. to Feb. and the first and third Monday at noon from May-June. You don’t need to worry about the tests! However, you should become familiar with what you should do if a severe storm or tornado happens.
A severe thunderstorm or tornado “watch” means that there is a possibility that weather conditions could produce a severe storm or a tornado. You should listen to one of the local radio stations or watch the television for any developments. Do not go outside. Do not sit close to any windows because of possible wind damage.
A severe thunderstorm “warning” means that winds are greater than 58 miles per hour (that is a very strong wind) and hail is bigger than three-quarters of an inch. Also, lightning usually accompanies thunderstorms and kills more people than tornadoes.
A tornado “warning” means that a tornado has been seen in or is moving toward the Lawrence area. If this happens, the city’s sirens will sound, telling you to take cover NOW! You should go to a protected area—a basement, the lowest level of a building, or to an interior room—away from doors and windows. You should protect your head. Do not use elevators. If you are in a car, pull over and leave it. If you are outside during a tornado and can’t get to a building quickly, go lie down on your stomach in a low area away from trees and electric power lines.
Not all thunderstorms are dangerous. Many are just dramatic displays of electricity, percussive sounds and sometimes heavy rain. Always use caution during thunderstorms, but don’t be too alarmed if there are no weather advisories.
A former AEC student once said, “If you don’t like the weather in Kansas, just wait a minute.” What he meant was that the weather is unpredictable—that it is always changing. If you have been in the Midwest before, you might have already noticed this. If you have just arrived in Kansas, then you should prepare yourself for both warm and cold weather.
At the beginning of the fall semester, temperatures are usually still very warm, but in October and November the weather will become quite cool. If you do not own a light jacket, you may wish to buy one soon. One of the most beautiful times of the year at KU is the autumn (or fall). The leaves on the trees change colors to bright orange, yellow, and red. Unfortunately, the beauty of autumn does not last very long. Winter and cold weather come very quickly.
Winter begins around December 21, but it is usually very cold by late November. Sometimes there is even snow by Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). Heavy clothing is necessary for this time of the year. A heavy winter coat, boots, gloves, and a hat are a necessity for the winter months. You can often find good clothing for much less money at used or second-hand stores.
It is also important to remember that winter brings snow and ice and that you must take extra care in getting around. It is sometimes dangerous to drive or walk on snow or ice. Shoes or boots made for walking in snow may prevent you from falling down on campus. Special snow tires or “chains” may keep your car from sliding.