Statesman sits down with mysterious 'Hammock Man'

colin antonColin Anton just wanted a quiet place to study. And, after a summer of hanging in his new hammock, he knew exactly where to find that place. Nestled between two trees, reading in the shade, Anton can be found lying in his hammock anywhere between the Oakland Apartments and the library or underneath the pines by the greenhouse. Ever since he started “mocking,” he’s become somewhat of a Where’s Waldo on the popular Facebook group Overheard at UMD. And students are now talking about him outside of the Internet.

“Tons of people would walk by, and I kept on overhearing people say, ‘That’s a good idea,’” he said.

After receiving much enthusiasm for using hammocks, he decided last week to launch the Hammock/Study Outreach Club. As of Sunday, there are 16 members not including Anton.

Member Gabe Ernst, a senior, joined the club after seeing it on Overheard at UMD, like most other members did. “It’s getting a lot of traction on the site,” he said.

And, according to Ernst, it’s good that the club is in the limelight, especially now that there are few on-campus lounges due to the Kirby construction.

“For people to stay at campus, they need a place to rest,” he said. “Duluth is kind of a commuter school right now. A lot of people spend all this time on the bus to go home and take a nap for an hour. Now, if you could do that on campus, then you could relax and waste a lot less time and just be less stressed overall throughout the day.”

Both Ernst and Anton think the use of hammocks can build a stronger community on campus by allowing students to study or nap in comfort in various areas. “After 4 o’clock when classes are over, the hallways are empty,” Ernst said. “(Hammocks) will get people to stick around.”

Because of his hammock, Anton is able to stay on campus for about 11 hours every day. “I’m more involved with school because I’m staying there all day,” he said. “I can be outside in a rich studying area where I’m not uncomfortable.”

According to Anton and Ernst, the campus spots with strong enough trees for setting up hammocks are between the library and the Oakland Apartments, the Life Sciences courtyard near the greenhouse, and the southwest side of the Kirby courtyard.

The club hopes to create more hammock hangouts with poles that have eye loops for attaching the straps. They are currently working with Facilities Management to see if the idea is feasible.

“There are not a lot of good trees on campus,” Ernst said. “You’ve got to go out of your way to use (your hammock).”

Anton said another benefit of the hammock hangouts would be that the poles would keep “mockers” from hurting campus trees.

For now, he asks that mockers not use small trees or those without rough bark because of the risk of overloading the tree and stripping its bark.

In preparation for the winter months, the club is searching for appropriate indoor hangouts, one area potentially being the gym courts. “There’re lots of times when there’s nobody in there—just completely empty,” Anton said.

The club also wants to make mocking more accessible by making hammocks more available. They plan on working with RSOP to add hammocks to its rental shop so that students without hammocks can rent them right on campus for a small price.

“I love going mocking and studying in my hammock, and I want other people to be able to do that, too,” Anton said.

Along with making the studying style more accessible, Anton wants to secure its future by ensuring that mockers are hanging safely.

He tells of a student who got in trouble for mocking 12 feet in the air.

“Anybody that’s mocking on campus should obviously practice safety because people that are hanging too high will ruin it for others,” he said.

He recommends hanging just over a foot above the ground, double checking that the straps are strong enough and not frayed or old, and tying the straps properly around the tree.


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