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Students find peace in hammocking on campus

Students+hammock+near+Campanile+during+their+free+time+on+April+16%2C+2019.
Grant Tetmeyer
Students hammock near Campanile during their free time on April 16, 2019.

Heading into the first week of October, Iowa State students are looking for low-effort ways to relax before it’s time to start preparing for midterm exams.

Underneath a grove of trees, freshman Elyce Burzlaff reads from a Kindle in the comfort of her hammock. Burzlaff’s shoes lay abandoned on the ground beneath her swinging body.

“It’s so peaceful,” Burzlaff said. “You get a light sway when the wind blows. I always read. It’s a nice way to relax.”

In the last few years, hammocking has become a favorite pastime among students at Iowa State. 

There are 12,000 trees on campus, which provide shade for students who want to lounge and study or hang their hammocks.

Other students prefer to utilize the poles that Facilities Planning and Management placed in 2018 to provide some relief to the trees on campus. The poles take pressure off of the trees, protecting the beauty of Iowa State’s campus and allowing more people to hammock without the fear of damaging a tree. 

“I don’t hammock if I don’t find a pole,” Burzlaff said.

Hammocks are made of a lightweight yet sturdy material that can be easy to pack up to take with you and simple to hang. There are various types of hammocks, from Mayan to American. All styles have a different design and use. 

It can be difficult to choose the perfect hammock, so Burzlaff recommends buying your first hammock off Amazon.

“You don’t need a fancy, expensive hammock,” Burzlaff said. “They all work about the same.” 

While hammocking is often a solo activity, it is also a favorite for groups of friends to get together and let the week’s worries disappear with the sway of their hammocks.

“My friends and I like to hammock behind Lake Laverne or use the poles around campus,” said sophomore Gabi Storelli. “We double [layer] our hammocks and [flip] them so that we [are] facing each other.”

Whether you are looking to hammock alone or with friends, the Iowa State campus provides a place to hang your hammock and enjoy the beautiful fall weather before the seasons change.

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