Hangin’ with the Hammock Club
Hangin’ with the Hammock Club
Students Relax, Find Community in a Sylvan Setting
The UNH Hammock Club has only three don'ts: no fires, no sharp objects, and no shoes.
When you get right down to it, there really isn’t much to the UNH Hammock Club.
And that is exactly the point.
In fact, members of the UNH Hammock Club will tell you that their big – and maybe only – goal is to find a couple trees with sturdy limbs (preferably close to the ground), string up their colorful hammocks, and hang out with their friends.
Then, just swing gently in the breeze. Watch an hour drift idly by. Chat quietly. Solve the world’s problems. Share a few funny stories. Think about life. Or, just zone out, reveling in having created such a comfortable, calming space in their busy day-to-day routines in college.
Although the hammies may be known for hanging out, they're no slackers. The range of majors they pursue spans the UNH curriculum, and many fit demanding sports, volunteer work, and jobs around their demanding academic schedules.
“Everyone needs a chance to step out of the fast lane for a while and just hang out,” say Molly Bulger, a member of the Cycling team and club co-founder. “You know, it’s so easy to get over-involved and not take any time to reflect. To think about where you’ve been, where you are now and where you’re going.”
When a dozen or more of the “hammies” gather, passersby can’t help but notice and smile.
“Hammock Club? Where do I sign up!?” shouts one harried looking passerby, seeming as though he could use the break as he rushes off to class.
The club started on a lark when Bulger and her friend and UNH classmate Theresa Conn visited each other on Cape Cod in the summer of 2011 and browsed around a hammock shop. They daydreamed about taking hammocks to UNH, then finding cool spots to hang out around campus, then forming a hammock club – heck, an entire hammock hanging out movement that could sweep the nation!
Indeed, it seems to be catching on.
“This is the best advertising,” says Conn, hanging out with about a dozen other club members in front of Devine Hall. “People see us and they’re like, ‘Hey, cool! We want to do that! ’ ”
The club has nearly 60 members now, and about a dozen meet at outdoors sites around campus to hang out each week. Upcoming organizational meetings are in the Memorial Union Building, room 302, on Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 14, and Dec. 5. Members also organize road trips, and recent ones have included camping and hiking in the White Mountains, a visit to downtown Keene, and afternoon trips to nearby Pawtuckaway State Park. Members also get a deal on hammocks through Trek Light Gear, of Boulder, CO.
The club is one of more the 130 student organizations recognized at UNH. Requiring at least seven student members, the clubs must have a “common purpose in alignment with the mission of the University of New Hampshire.” And as the Hammock Club’s official constitution states, its purpose is to promote “recreation, relaxation and community building.”
Being hardy UNH students, club members say that weather isn’t a deterrent for dedicated hammies – several members hang out outdoors in the winter, a practice they call “extreme hammocking.”
If you can’t find club members in a tree around campus, they are even easier to find on Facebook, at the UNH Hammock Club.