Huskers will have the chance to kick up their feet, relax and sway in the wind as they study in a new campus hangout.
Through a project led by the Nebraska Unions, Outdoor Adventures and Landscape Services, a series of hammocks will be hung amid trees overlooking Broyhill Fountain. The project will create a unique City Campus experience while also strengthening the link between the Nebraska Union Plaza and Meier Commons green space.
“The idea is to bring those two spaces together, making the connection through a colorful series of hammocks,” said Emily Casper, assistant director of Landscape Services. “It’s also an extension of our ongoing initiative to renovate planting areas, making them more open.”
The space, which was designed by Kenny Brandl, a May graduate of Nebraska’s landscape architecture program who also was a student intern with Facilities Planning and Construction, will offer space for 10 hammocks. The university will install specialized poles that will be connected by the hammocks. University-purchased hammocks will be installed in most of the spaces, with a few left open to allow students to use their own hammocks.
The $4,500 trial project is funded through Nebraska Unions’ operations reserve funds. If successful, hammock options on campus may be expanded.
Ryan Lahne, senior associate director for the Nebraska Unions, said the hammock idea grew from a student request made this past spring.
“A student class project was looking at different ways to use the Meier Commons green space and that started a discussion on how we can better engage students to use that space,” Lahne said. “The discussion morphed into concepts that are popular among college students but not offered on campus. That led us to hammocks.”
While not a new concept, hammocking has recently grown in popularity among college students nationwide. Use of the swinging cots is relaxing and offer hang out opportunities among students. They also allow students to interact with the environment while taking studying outdoors.
Some universities have started to offer weekly hammocking sessions, while others, like Rice University, are creating specific areas for students to use hammocks.
At Nebraska, students often use campus trees for hammocking. Nebraska administrators hope that creating a hammock hangout will reduce the number of students hammocking between trees, an activity that can damage the arbors.
The university hammocks, which will add splashes of bright color to the area, will be maintained by Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures Center. They will also be secured through specialized locking clamps.
Lahne said the hammocks will be available for use from roughly March to November, the same months Broyhill Fountain operates.
“This hammocking area is going to add a whole new level of energy to the plaza and green space,” Lahne said. “It’s going to be great to see what already is a great social environment taken to a new level by the installation of hammocks.”