Is the commuter lounge enough?

Although I am a senior at Maryville College, I fall into many other categories as a student, including being both non-traditional and a commuter. The one issue that frequently occurs to me on campus is where one might find a place to take a nap.

While the current campus enrollment is just under 1,200,  just over 25 percent of those students live off campus. This shows that almost 300 students must travel to campus and use the commuter lounge found on the third floor of Bartlett Hall but do not have access to a decent place to sleep.

While all should have ideally gotten in their 8 hours of sleep the night before, cramming for an exam, general exhaustion or having to deal with a sick child are all possibilities to explain why a commuter student might not have managed to get enough sleep and might still need to be in class the next morning.

Once on campus, a commuter student could feel too tired to drive back to his or her home. While I live in Lenoir City, others travel a much further distance than I do. The options for places to rest are the one-room commuter lounge, one’s own vehicle or a random couch in the Clayton Center. All are certainly issues of safety and stolen property. The solution I propose would be having “Nap Rooms” on campus.

Time Magazine published an article in 2014 highlighting the effectiveness of creating “Nap Rooms” across college campuses in the U.S.

The article first mentions The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor uses a napping area in the library during finals week.

The University first arranged for 6 cots in an area of the library, however, an article posted several months later on found that both the library and the fire marshal were concerned for the safety of the cots and chose to switch to a MetroNaps Energy Pod, a futuristic sleeping pod that looks like it came straight out of “Star Trek.”

The Time article noted that the price of each pod is steep, ranging from $9,995 to $12,985, but the pods have many selective features.

According to the article, the pod, “keeps the sleeper’s legs elevated, and a dome on top ensures privacy. Users can either select the pre-programmed 20-minute nap cycle or customize the duration. Also, the pods allow for listening to soothing music as the machine gently vibrates.”

Other universities who currently have the MetroNaps Energy Pod are The University of Miami, Wesleyan University, University of California-San Francisco Carnegie Mellon, Stanford University Graduate School of Medicine and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Less expensive napping pods are currently used at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The article from noted that James Madison University created a Nap Nook room, “which includes six giant beanbags and two white noise machines for nappers’ comfort.” An article from the USA Today also mention that UC-Berkeley “offers four campus REST Zones featuring lounge chairs that accommodate a total of 40 students at a time.”

There are clearly a variety of options for the way that this idea could proceed. Sleep is a very important factor in the productivity of an individual, and all students could benefit from the introduction of nap rooms at Maryville College. The addition of nap rooms could help provide what the commuter lounge does not, which is a place for those who travel to have a place to rest.


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