Washburn adds hammock posts on campus to improve student health


photo by Kayshiona Acquaye

Washburn University adds new hammocking area for students. faculty and staff to enjoy. Mason Engelken, president of the kinesiology club and co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, presented to the idea to Student Life.

Washburn University added a new hammocking area just for its students, staff and faculty to relax and enjoy. A request was sent from Eric Grospitch, the director of the Office of Student Life, to have facilities on campus put up the hammocks. This project was funded by the Office of Student Life.

Mason Engelken, president of the kinesiology club and co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, approached Student Life with the idea last January. He then presented the idea to Grospitch to “promote a fun avenue for students on campus to enjoy the outdoors in a safe way.”

The area was picked out when Grospitch, Engelken and John Burns, Engelken’s advisor, were out walking around campus looking for the best area. The Carole Chapel near the Memorial Union was among one of the few areas that the three had found.

There was not a designated hammock space anywhere on campus prior to the hammock poles. The area outside of Memorial Union, where “Scorch on the Porch” is often held, is a well-known hammocking spot but it doesn’t have quite as much room.

Engelken explained how he had previously hammocked in some of the trees north of the Union.

“The space there was limited. My thought behind the hammock pole idea was to expand the number of spots and locations where students would be able to enjoy some time outdoors through hammocking,” said Engelken.

“We decided that it was the best first option … to try and determine if students will use it,” said Grospitch.

Engelken added, “I have always loved to hammock. I find it relaxing and peaceful, and I occasionally even enjoy hammocking while doing schoolwork or reading.”

“Having a space that students can go to relax, hang out with friends, study, and appreciate the nature around them is another step in helping in our wellness initiatives for our Washburn community,”  said Whitney Slater, director of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

If students have been looking for a new way to relax or even relieve some stress, hammocking may be a good option. The health benefits to hammocking include improving sleep, and it also helps to improve blood circulation; both of these benefits are key factors that play a big role in the health of college students. Sometimes life gets stressful or overwhelming, and students often forget to do things like eat, take a breather, rest or take time away from things in life that may be causing them anxiety. Whenever they come back ready to start fresh again, they can do so because they have a clear mind, which allows them to focus on important things and thrive. All students, staff and faculty are welcome and encouraged to utilize the hammocking area at any time.

Edited by: LeSha’ Davis, Alijah McCracken