UNCA installs first ENO hammock pods

Freshmen Sam Denton and Amelia Rosenberg try out the new ENO hammocks. Photo by John Armstrong - Staff Writer
Freshmen Sam Denton and Amelia Rosenberg try out the new ENO hammocks.
Photo by John Armstrong – Staff Writer

By John Armstrong – [email protected] – Staff Writer | Aug. 27, 2014 |
As the first weeks of fall semester begin, UNC Asheville’s community welcomes new students as well as campus additions. Collaborating with Eagles Nest Outfitters, UNCA installed the first ever ENO hammock pods on a college campus.
One of the goals set forth by Jeremiah Haas, assistant director of Outdoor Programs and Campus Recreation, was to sustain the natural resources here on campus by providing pods for students to hang their hammocks.
Students use hammocks on campus wherever they can find trees with the right amount of distance to support a hammock, which puts a tremendous amount of stress on the trees.
“It will eventually alleviate some of the stress we see on our trees, especially on the campus Quad,” Haas said.
Haas said plans for the installation began as early as last spring.
“Some of the point collaborators were Outdoor Programs, myself, Vollie Barnwell of Housing Operations and Derek Plumb of Residential Education,” Haas said.
In addition to these people, Haas also collaborated with Erin Punter Spence of Athletics Marketing. She pointed Haas to ENO and Mast General Store and they started work together on ideas on how UNCA might partner with ENO.
“We started to partner with ENO and they used us as a test pilot,” Haas said.
According to Derek Plumb, community director of The Ridges residence halls, ENO had reached out to colleges and universities to install these hammock pods.
“ENO agreed to donate two pods, no strings attached, and painted them in our colors as well as customized the plating to contain UNC Asheville’s logo. They even went a step further and donated six hammocks as well to the housing office and those can be checked out for a 24 -hour period free of charge,” Plumb said.
In addition to the pods being installed, plans to build permanent installations for hammock hanging remain in effect.
“ENO has worked with one college in the past where they built a permanent structure which had a central post in the middle and smaller posts all around it so that you can hang around 10 hammocks,” Plumb said.
Plumb said he first encountered the pods when he was on a rafting trip at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
He started to email ENO and find out more information on the pods, which jump-started his role in the installation. He encountered Haas and told him about his contact with ENO. The two then spearheaded a campaign to get these pods installed. Plumb and Haas considered many factors when bringing the idea to the administration such as insurance, location, maintenance and mowing around them.
“We were pretty well received on campus from the housing administration and from the groundskeepers” Plumb said.
The pods can be found behind Governors Hall, in the A.C. Reynolds Green and also behind Mills Hall next to the volleyball court. The pods are available for all students to use.
“They are close enough to the dorms for Wi-Fi and are a great place for multiple people to be able to put up hammocks together,” said Sam Denton, UNCA freshman.
The cool thing about the pods is that you don’t have to own an ENO brand to use it. They’re structured in a way that any hammock can be used in it, Plumb said.
According to Plumb, toward the end of hammock season, right around October, the university wants to ask the student body thoughts on the hammock pods and assess whether to install more.
“They’re trying to do research right now to see if there is any correlation between people who study in hammocks or people who take naps in hammocks, to see improvements in study habits or better grades,” Plumb said.
Plumb said every few years an outside group will come to campus and assess how well the university provides to the needs of its students, faculty and staff.
“In the long list of suggestions they offered us, one of the things was if you’re really gonna be on this bandwagon of being a seriously creative campus, how do we then create a creative environment?” Plumb said.
“ENO does a monthly photo contest of users submitting a photo of them on their product and they pick a winner of a person using their product in a fun way,” Plumb said.
Hammocks are also available for rent at Campus Rec for a small fee. The rates include $4 for a day, $6 for a weekend and $10 for a week.