Hammocks bring new life to the quad

Hanging out in the Quad has a brand new meaning, thanks to one student’s idea.

Saint Louis University students have been spending time outside in hammocks, the newest warm-weather additions to campus.  Although their wooden posts arrived in November, the three hammocks were installed in mid-March, just in time for a post-spring break surprise.

Student Government Association financed this project, proposed by SLU Urban Planners Association senior Jon Roper, who went before SGA last spring to request funding through the administration led by former president Michael Harriss. After receiving $700 from Special Projects Funding for the hammocks, Roper sought design inspiration from Washington University-St. Louis’ campus.

“Traveling over to [WashU], we laid out on their hammocks,” Roper said. “They have a plethora of common spaces and a gaggle of hammocks outside many of their dorms…our next step was to find the perfect chill spot here at SLU.”

After working closely with Grounds and Facilities Services, Roper decided to place the hammocks in the Quad, due to its high traffic and location in the heart of campus.

SGA President Courtney Anvender remembers when Roper requested hammock funding, but she never foresaw their popularity.

“I thought the students would like the hammocks, but I don’t think I anticipated them being in constant use from the moment they were installed.”

Because of their high demand, Anvender has not yet had the opportunity to try one firsthand.

“I’ve stared at them longingly, while others have laid in them,” she said.

Though a minor addition, the hammocks have driven traffic toward the Quad since their arrival, and with warmer weather approaching, this shows no sign of slowing.

“I think [the hammocks] brought a little more life to the Quad,” Anvender said. “Though at the heart of the campus, the Quad is usually something students pass through to reach a destination. It seemed like the Quad became more of a destination itself with the hammocks.”

Senior Kathleen Sullivan agrees.

“I love them. They’re just one more reason to hang out in the Quad,” Sullivan said.

In addition to hammocks, Roper has other ideas to spice up SLU’s central area, including picnic tables, colorful plants, a new bike rack station and a fountain. But would these things have the same impact as the hammocks? Given the response from students, it is hard to imagine. At least, it is for senior Kayla Bullard.

“The hammocks are so comfortable and fun; they’re the most perfect thing ever,” Bullard said.

In the future, Roper hopes to bring more hammocks to the Quad. But for now, students are enjoying the current trio.

Like many others, senior Elizabeth Mizera views the hammocks as the best way to get in the swing of spring.

“These hammocks are a relaxation station,” Mizera said. “It’s a groovy way to kick back and hang out – sign me up!”