STORY BY BETH LEVALLEY
When college students think of health, they typically think of eating right, getting enough exercise and catching up on sleep. However, two students at Drake are thinking of other ideas.
Student Senate approved the Drake Hammocking Club. First-year students Audrey Byerly and Alex Hassel came up with the idea for the club.
The club was created to help students relax and de-stress after a potentially long week of classes and enforce a healthier mental lifestyle.
Each student brings their own hammock. But, if they don’t have a hammock, the club allows lawn chairs, blankets and pillows.
Drake Hammocking Club attempted to get approved last week, but Senate voted it down because of potential liabilities. This week, the two students came back with answers for Senate.
The club’s liability form will be permanently online, so students that want to participate just for one meeting can easily reach the form.
“It’s always there, so I don’t have to worry about holding onto them,” Bylerly said. “It’s more practical, and it makes more sense.”
Bylery and Hassel also met with Donna Blunck, the director of risk and insurance at Drake. She suggested that the club create a YouTube video about how to set up the hammock and ensure that each hammock is set up properly before using it.
Another concern was the hammocks would gradually destroy the trees on campus, so the club spoke with Mark Chambers, the director of facility services.
“His suggestion was to make sure we’re using trees that are sturdy, healthy and big enough where it would hold the hammock,” Hassel said. “There are plenty of trees on campus that I believe would fit that criteria.”
Chambers also suggested putting a towel between the hammock rope and the bark, which would create a cushion to prevent damage to the tree bark.
Senate as a whole appreciated the research that went into creating this club and the focus on student safety.
“You really went above and beyond with reaching out and addressing our concerns,” Sen. O’Hea said.
MEDLIFE, Medicine, Education and Development for Lower Income Families Everywhere, also got approved as a student organization, but did not evoke the same reaction from O’Hea and Sen. Donat.
The national organization aims to fundraise on campus to help build medical clinics, schools and other developmental projects in Tanzania, Peru and Ecuador.
The students hope to go on a mission trip in the future through this organization, which would help members find motivation to continue fundraising.
Sen. O’Hea and Sen. Donat believed that this organization would not bring back enough to campus or the community.
Other senators did not agree.
“I think this is a very good organization that’s going to offer very good opportunities for students, and again I think our backing will help solidify them,” Sen. Leuth said. “I am interested to see how they can expand further with what they’re going to bring back to campus specifically… outside of another leadership opportunity, which I am in no way diminishing.”
After debate between the Senate, Sen. O’Hea and Sen. Donat voted down the organization, and the rest approved of the organization on campus.
Senate also created a “Senate Structure Ad Hoc Committee,” which will assess the positions on Student Senate.
“After looking at over 30 different positions in different student governments, there are a variety of positions that I think we don’t necessarily cover and it would be interesting to see if it would be useful to work it into our structure,” said Vice President of Student Life Zachary Blevins.
“So this committee … is not actually looking at the entire structure of Senate, but really looking at who we have sitting around the table and if it makes sense with what we are doing.”