Raise your hand if you have taken advantage of the hammocks on the Quad. Those of you without your hands in the air, stop reading this and immediately go to the Quad and get in one.
Last fall, when Accelerate placed the first hammocks on the Quad, I thought to myself, “what a nice idea.” The Accelerate team never ceases to amaze me with the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking they bring to our campus. But, little did I know the significant impact that those red, yellow, and orange rest stations would have on our campus.
For a campus that often runs on deadlines and coffee, these hammocks brought the hurried and often exhausted student population to a curious halt. In the beginning, I would watch as students would look side to side to see if anyone was watching before they carefully lowered themselves, until they were nestled inside. I’d watch as the hammocks would gently sway back and forth, until they stopped, indicating the occupier fell into a much needed and deserved nap. As our students got more comfortable with the hammocks, I would see the sides of the hammock go up and over, creating a cocoon of peace, quiet, and calm. I would watch students sketch, read, listen to music, or watch Netflix. It wasn’t long until I observed the sharing of the hammock between friends or significant others, engaged in conversation, sharing laughter, disconnected from electronics, even if just for a few moments. Human connection is so rare in today’s smart phone culture. Many of us would rather send a text than talk on the phone and use an emoji rather than actual words. But, it is impossible not to be humanly connected when folded into the hug of a hammock.
A simple hammock. A significant impact.
These hammocks have given our campus a much needed excuse to slow down, take a deep breath, look at the sky, feel the breeze, close our eyes, and replenish our spirit. The irony is not lost on me that Accelerate provided our students with vehicle necessary to decelerate. I am also not blind to the purposefulness of this addition to our campus. Rested bodies provide foundation for active, creative, and innovative minds to take action.
And they certainly will take action, just as soon as they finish napping.