With full course loads, early morning classes, part time jobs and long commutes with an often unreliable transit system, post secondary students have a lot of reasons to be tired these days. And they haven’t been quiet about it.
Last semester, when the SA began linking with students to find out what they would like to see at the college, one of the most commonly-heard complaints was the inability to sleep in between classes.
“The issue of having a nap on campus became quite frequent when they were talking to students,” said the SA’s manager of administrative services, Don MacRae.
Well, the SA has heard their message loud and clear; new lounge chairs and futuristic contraptions known as napping pods now sit in the college’s silent study areas.
The lounges have been around all semester — installed in late August — but the Energy Pods purchased from the company Metro Naps, only arrived at the college a couple of weeks back.
Already though, students are starting to take notice. According to an informal poll created by the Times and posted in a private Algonquin College student Facebook group, 52 of the 74 respondents indicated that they have seen the napping pods. Of those who are aware of them, 36 expressed interest in using them, while only three actually have.
Despite being new to the Woodroffe campus, the pods and lounges for napping have been in the works for about seven months, according to current SA President Egor Evseev.
Evseev told the Times that he first discovered that other post secondary campuses and corporate offices had purchased napping pods while he was campaigning during this spring’s election. Evseev decided to include it in his platform and the idea was well received by both students and the SA.
“Before I even started my first day at the SA this term, staff had already begun researching the nap pods, because the SA wanted to do this as fast as possible,” said Evseev. “A well-rested student is a happy student.”
Following the results of the student surveys and Evseev’s successful campaign, the SA Board of Directors decided to include napping pods and lounges in their annual budget.
By June, MacRae, had placed his first order for six lounge chairs along with two napping pods.
And they didn’t come cheap. According to MacRae, the Energy Pods have a hefty $10,000 price tag attached which is why the SA has only invested in a limited quantity.
Although there are currently only two available at the Woodroffe campus, Evseev along with the rest of the SA are excited about students benefiting from the pods and lounges.
“This seemed like such a small thing – in the grand scheme of things – that could make student lives better and I think it can make a big impact,” said Evseev. “For example, if you live on residence, you probably won’t benefit much but imagine if you are a commuter student that has an hour bus ride from Orleans.”
McRae mirrored Evseev’s statement, adding that “Mental health is such a big thing right now and with our scheduling systems at the college, students typically have two to three hour breaks sometimes between classes who would rather have a nap on campus then go home.”
McRae also said that the buzz surrounding the SA’s recent purchase is spreading to other post secondary campuses.
“Since we’ve had them in, I’ve been contacted by numerous colleges and universities that inquire about how they can get them too,” he said.
The pods have also attracted attention from CTV and CBC, generating attention in social media, as well as local daily print and broadcast media.