Friday the 13th turned out to be as unlucky as its reputation when Emporia State announced the addition of sleep pods on campus last week. The trouble wasn’t with ski masks, black cats, or other nightmare-inducing themes, but the backlash on Facebook to the idea that college students needed nap time on campus.
“This is what (universities) are spending money on?” Bev Woodsmall said in a comment on the school’s post announcing the pods. “That’s a legit question because I didn’t see the answer in the article. Also this seems extremely UN-environmentally friendly. Changing sheets after each napper is a must but that’s a lot of water and detergent and energy to run a machine to wash and dry. But carry on.”
There is already one sleep pod in the basement of William Allen White Library, and another slated to be installed at the beginning of October in the Memorial Union. They are provided for free to the university through a partnership with HOHM, a San Diego, California, based startup. ESU is the second university where HOHM has placed sleep pods; the first was at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The HOHM pods are 45-square-foot spaces that look a little like a tornado shelter. They have a twin bed installed with the intention of giving students places to rest if need be.
ESU held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 16 to celebrate the official opening of the pod. Carmen Leeds, director of the Memorial Union, kicked off the event before handing it over to Jim Williams, vice president of student affairs. Other speakers include Mary McDaniel Anschutz, director of the student wellness center and health services, Michelle Hammond, dean of university library and archives, Nikolas Woods, founder and CEO of HOHM, and Jon Wisner, director of business development and partnerships at HOHM.
“This is a great, great day,” Woods said. “We’re really excited to be here. Just the support we’ve gotten from the community here has been amazing already...We’re just really excited to bring HOHM on campus.”
During active hours, student employees are located outside the pod. Their purpose is to clean and regulate the pods; making sure there is only one person in them at a time. Their supplies and pay are provided by HOHM, also with no cost to the university, according to Wisner.
For students on campus, they get two hours free per month when they use their student emails, and each session after that will cost $5. Students can book sessions through https://hohm.life/book/.
Other complaints on the post disagree with the idea of giving college students the option to nap on campus.
“Quit coddling them,” Justyn Schroeder said on the post. “Grow up, the REAL world awaits!”
Despite the negative comments, there were still plenty of people in support of the nap pods.
“I was a non-trad student who was a double major working nights and going to ESU during the day,” Tee IvyHaynes said on the post. “This would have been nice between classes. Those chairs in the atrium at Visser Hall pale in comparison.”
Although the comments were across the board, Gwen Larson, assistant director of marketing and media said it was a good thing for the different opinions to be heard.
“The uniqueness of social media is that it really is a virtual town square,” Larson said. “Where anyone with access to the channel can express their opinions. I think that’s what we saw on the post about the nap pods. We had graduates who said ‘I wish I had that when I was in school,’ ‘It would be better than crawling under the table in the library and taking a nap.’”
According to Larson, the university didn’t see a need to step in, as the comments regulated themselves.
“Yes, we heard from people that don’t see that there would be any need for something like this,” Larson said. “It seemed to me that in many ways, the conversation pretty much went back and forth and regulated itself."