Nap Pod reinstated after COVID-19 hiatus


Sienna Wight / Hilltop Views

The Nap Pod offers free 20-minute set naps in the tech-free lounge. While there used to be multiple pods for use, only one remains post-pandemic.

After a COVID-19 hiatus, the Nap Pod returns to the tech-free wellness lounge in the Recreation and Athletic Center. This on-campus amenity provides students with the opportunity to decompress throughout the day by offering 20-minute nap periods. 

Though the Nap Pod was unavailable during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, the equipment has been accessible since fall 2021. A better understanding of the spread of COVID-19 and enhanced cleaning measures have allowed the department of health and wellness to re-open the tech-free wellness lounge. 

“The incredibly high vaccination rate of our campus community allows us to offer more services to our community,” Executive Director of Health and Wellness Andy Lemons said. 

Student usage has been much lower since the pandemic – which is true of all recreational facilities across campus. According to Lemons, this semester has experienced an increase in facility engagement.  

“[We] expect those trends to continue as students continue to be more comfortable re-engaging with in-person experiences,” Lemons said. 

In 2018 the university began renovations on the former Recreation and Convocation Center, now known as the Recreation and Athletic Center (RAC). The RAC officially opened in January 2020, only two months before the school moved to an online format to accommodate for the pandemic. The new facility has many amenities: a weight room, a multipurpose fitness studio, the tech-free wellness lounge and many more. 

One student who has been enjoying the tech-free wellness lounge is Phillipe Robinson. Like many students, Robinson was not on campus his freshman year. During his exploration of the university upon arrival this fall, he discovered the tech-free wellness lounge and consequently the Nap Pod. 

“I started coming here almost every day,” Robinson said. 

Although Robinson had a positive experience with the lounge, he has some complaints about the Nap Pod itself. He found the positioning of the pod and the hard surface to be uncomfortable, and prefers the pallet of pillows also located in the wellness lounge. 

“I tried the Nap Pod one of the first times I came in here,” Robinson said. “I’m not that big of a fan of it because (of) its awkward positioning… but (it) is really cool because you can take your own privacy. Even if there is someone in here it’s hard for them to see you and it’s hard for you to see them.”

Even with critiques, Robinson still utilizes the Nap Pod to decompress. 

“It’s a nice area to come to if you want to relax or destress,” Robinson said. “I think anybody should come here if they want to.”