Eight students installed the first of three hammocks that are part of a class assignment to “do something good” on the Southwest lawn on Dec. 2.
The group of students are installing the hammocks as part of a project in McDonough School of Business professor Jason Brennan’s class Moral Foundations of Market Society. The students were given $1000 to conduct their project.
The rest of the hammocks are expected to be installed before the end of the semester.
Zac Schroepfer (MSB ’19), who is part of the group that installed the hammock, said his group decided on hammocks as a way to do good and provide a realistic solution to the stress culture that can pervade college campuses.
“We were thinking, what is an issue that affects all students on campus, and the main one we saw was stress,” Schroepfer said. “We decided on the hammock for a couple reasons. We found research that showed hammocks help benefit creativity and problem-solving skills. It would help students have power naps, which would help alleviate stress issues as well.”
The students worked with the Office of Residential Living, the Office of Facilities and Management and the Office of Design and Construction to acquire and install the hammocks.
Office of Design and Construction Senior Project Manager Carla Tiberi connected the students with Twin Oaks, an income-sharing community that sells hammocks. Twin Oaks provided the hammocks for Governor’s Island in New York, where there is a hammock park that the students in Brennan’s class drew inspiration from.
Funding for the hammocks, as well as other projects within Brennan’s class, has come from Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Market and Ethics for the past two years.
ISME Director Michael Douma said the institute awards funding based on a mandatory presentation students give to Douma outlining how they intend to use the money.
“Their assignment is to use this money to do good and to justify it when they have to stand up in front of class at the end of the semester and explain their project,” Douma said. “So it doesn’t do them any good to just try to max out their $1000.”
In the past, projects have ranged from starting businesses or nonprofits to developing smaller on-campus improvements. Douma said the assignment allows students to practically apply concepts from their courses.
“It really teaches people the realities of the business world, just how difficult it is to be a businessperson, to do everything right and ethically,” Douma said. “It gives people practice in working through these things, so it’s just one more thing where students coming out of the Georgetown business school are very prepared for the real world of business.”
While the students originally considered placing the hammocks on Healy Lawn, Schroepfer said university plans prevented them from doing so.
“We originally wanted to do it in Healy, but we were told there was a chance where there would be an ongoing project on Healy where they might be taking out the lawn and replacing it,” Schroepfer said.
Going forward, Schroepfer said he and his group aim to measure the impact of the hammocks in conjunction with the university.
“So now the main thing we’re going to be looking at is moving forward, to be working with facilities through conversation and discussions with students to see if these hammocks were an effective use of money,” Schroepfer said. “From what we’ve heard recently, the hammocks are always being used.”
Kali Sullivan (MSB ’19), who also worked on the project, said she hopes the hammocks will create a precedent for similar stress-reducing installations across campus.
“We hope that a lot of students will use them and that they’ll stay up year-round,” Sullivan said. “We also hope that this will encourage the Office of Design and Construction to continue this project.”
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