Longhorns Under the Sun

Longhorns Under the Sun invites members of the community to explore all the ways to stay safer in the sun while enjoying outdoor activities. Through the Longhorn Wellness Center, Longhorns Under the Sun offers education around sun safety, hydration and feeling the benefits of nature for well-being. The program also works to increase access to sun safety and hydration resources, and collaborates with other campus partners to create an environment where every Longhorn can stay safer and enjoy their time outside.

Whether sitting by the Turtle Pond or strolling around campus with a friend, spending just 15 minutes outside can help you feel connected to your environment, boost creativity and allows you to discover something new about campus.

students on the south lawn

UT Austin students enjoy many outdoor activities year-round while protecting their skin and acclimating to the Texas heat. In fact, 91% of students say that they stay in the shade when they are outdoors as a way of protecting against ultraviolet rays (NCHA, 2021).

Program Initiatives

UT Sunscreen Dispensers

The Longhorn Wellness Center collaborates with other departments on campus to host sunscreen dispensers that provide access to free sunscreen year-round. Check out our sunscreen dispensers at the Gregory Gymnasium Aquatics complex. The dispensers contain water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen and have a ‘how to apply guide’ attached.

Hydration Stations

With funding from UT Austin Sustainability Green Fee Fund, in 2017 the Longhorn Wellness Center helped increase the number of hydration stations across campus. You can now find water bottle filling fountains, or “hydration stations”, in existing buildings on campus that promote the refilling of personal reusable water bottles, which helps you stay hydrated throughout the day.

How to Stay Safer in the Sun

Choose The Right Clothing

Cover exposed areas of skin with loose-fitting clothing. Choose clothing that provides comfort and protection:

  • Pick a wide-brimmed hat or visor that shades the face, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that protect against 99-100% of UV rays.
  • Look for lip balms with SPF 30+.
  • Sun protective, ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) fabric is available. Look for the Skin Cancer Foundations seal on the tag.

Seek Shade or Bring Your Own

Any physical structure that helps shelter from direct sunlight is optimal, or you can use an umbrella when you walk to class to protect the top of your head.

Stay Hydrated

Grab a refillable water bottle and fill it up before you leave home or at a water fountain on campus.

Check the UV Index

Before heading out, check the UV index by using a weather app or forecasting website. Even on a day when the UV index is low (<2) it is recommended to take sun safe precautions like those listed on this page.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen can be one of our best defenses against the sun and other sources of UV radiation.

  • Check the Label - Choose sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 15 when indoors and SPF 30 when outdoors. Ensure that it is water-resistant and offers broad spectrum coverage.
  • Sunscreen can expire- If the sunscreen is expired the ingredients in the product will not be as effective. Sunscreen is designed to remain at its original strength for 3 years.
  • Timing - Ideally, aim to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors. If you are already outside apply as soon as possible.
  • Amount - Apply an even coat of sunscreen to any portion of the skin not covered by clothes. Make sure to apply enough. Make sure you pay attention to applying behind the ears, inside of arms, the tops of the feet and under the chin.
  • Ask for Help - Ask a friend to help apply sunscreen on hard-to-reach areas such as the back.
  • Apply More Sunscreen - Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
  • Visit UHS Sunburn and Sun Safety for more information on sunburns and skin care.

Get Involved

Do you have ideas about sun safety or hydration programming at UT Austin? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to longhornwellnesscenter@austin.utexas.edu and we can connect you to our Longhorns Under the Sun staff.