Hanging Out at SLU

Kate Brooker
Class of: 

A portable hammock might not be the first item you think to put on your college packing list, but here at St. Lawrence University, it's a must. It is a sight to see, driving down Park Street or walking across campus, seeing so many bright and colorful hammocks setup from the porches of theme houses to trees between the quad.

I didn’t know about the portable hammock phenomenon until I came to St. Lawrence, but within my first few weeks I began to understand that these were an essential aspect of the St. Lawrence lifestyle, almost as important as having the right textbooks for class. So I consulted a few of my friends on which color I should get, hopped on Amazon, and my hammock was shipped to me within a few days. Now, I hardly go anywhere without it.

The best aspect, probably better defined as the most convenient aspect, of these hammocks is their ability to be set up anywhere and at anytime, as long as there are two places to hang the ends. Inside, outside, between two trees, or even in a tree, there is no limit to the places where you can use them. Here at St. Lawrence, I find that the structure of the liberal arts education reflects the convenience we find in our portable hammocks. In my first years at SLU, I was encouraged to fulfill my academic requirements by exploring new and interesting classes outside of my comfort zone. Because of this, I now have the tools - like critical thinking, reading, and writing - to set up camp in any professional setting, regardless of its relation to my major. That’s what a St. Lawrence liberal arts education is all about.

These hammocks are meant for the outdoors and represent a spirit of adventure that can be felt across campus. They’re perfect for camping, and students have been found sleeping in them on campus or near the neighboring golf course. They’re designed to withstand the elements, so they’re perfect for the changing seasons that are so often associated with Upstate New York. SLU students, however, welcome the change and choose to take advantage of each season, no matter the weather. The Outdoor Program and the Outing Club offer a variety of trips for students to partake in. From canoeing, kayaking, and fishing to skiing and hiking, there is something for everyone, and hammocks are always welcome.

These wonderfully comfortable, versatile hammocks are also a reminder of adaptability and change that are often closely associated with college. I was fortunate to have spent the last three years studying here at St. Lawrence. Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end. As a senior, I will soon have to unhook my hammock from my porch, pack it up, and bring it with me on my next adventure away from St. Lawrence. It’s a scary thought, to move a hammock that has found a suitable hanging place for four years, but I know that I can always some back to campus and set up my hammock whenever I need to feel at home.