Notre Dame vs. The Hammock (Or, The Best 'Letter To The Editor' Ever)

Thanks to a ‘hammock’ keyword alert that lets me know of all things hammock in the universe, I stumbled upon a situation which needs to be shared.

Let me introduce you to Matt Povlock.  Matt is a Junior at Notre Dame and an all around pretty smart guy from what I can tell, though I’ve never met him.   As it turns out, one of Matt’s friends was recently relaxing in his hammock on the Notre Dame quad when a campus officer informed him that hammocks were not allowed to be hung in the quad.

After hearing this, Matt did what any concerned citizen would do, he penned a letter to the school newspaper and voiced his opinion.  But Matt doesn’t just offer a simple argument for the ability to hammock freely on campus.  Instead, he dives deeper and asks us all to explore what the hammock represents and what it provides those who embrace it.  Matt knows how to really go for the gold (Notre Dame Law School, keep your eyes on this one) and in a few short paragraphs he manages to call upon Patriotism, Faith and our “unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in truly epic fashion.

Behold, Matt’s Letter To The Editor of the Notre Dame Observer, titled Hammock Rights:

One of my friends recently was approached by an NDSP officer while enjoying a beautiful afternoon in his hammock on North Quad. The officer informed him that hammocks are prohibited from being hung between trees on the quads, and she forced him to take his down. This violation of human liberty, therefore, begs for a brief celebration of the hammock in all of its glory.

The hammock is more than a relaxation contraption; it is a celestial experience. It allows one to temporarily transcend the boundaries of this world to blissfully frolic amidst the clouds of heaven.

This modern miracle, displayed through mid-air flotation, traces its roots to Jesus walking on water. Many biblical scholars assert that Christ Himself was born in a hammock. Hammocks, therefore, provide their users with spiritual peace and allow them to mirror the life of their Lord and Savior.

As United States citizens, we rejoice over the connection between the hammock and our American identity. Nothing depicts American freedom like spending a lazy afternoon relaxing in one's hammock. This display of patriotism celebrates our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For God, Country and Notre Dame: take a moment to hang your hammock, kick back, relax and become lost in the beauty of life.

Matt Povlock
Stanford Hall
Aug. 31

Matt, you are a true Hammock Hero in my book.

There may be a legitimate reason for Notre Dame having to ban hammocks, I honestly don’t know and won’t assume anything until hearing more about it.

But,  Notre Dame is not alone in the list of non-hammock-friendly schools, I wrote about a very similar situation at Covenant College in Georgia (‘A Small School With A Big Hammock Problem’) almost exactly one year ago.  In it I offered a number of suggestions on how to make hammock peace on campus and even made an offer to provide 10 Trek Light hammocks to the first school to implement an official hammock area/program for its students.

No school has yet to take me up on the offer so maybe this is it. Matt (and anyone else reading at Notre Dame) – You’ve got Trek Light Gear’s full support in your fight for hammock rights at your school.

While much of this seems (and is) pretty humorous, I mean it sincerely when I say that I believe hammocks at a university help strike a very important balance between work and relaxation.

Notre Dame is obviously entitled to concerns about what gets strung up on or around its property but with the health benefits of hammocks becoming clearer with every new study and the obvious stress reduction it provides, universities need to find ways to strike a balance with its students who simply want to get off the ground and relax on campus.  If it’s the trees that are a concern, simple posts could easily be installed around the quad to allow students to hang their hammocks without fear of damage. Lawn chairs and blankets certainly cause much more damage to the grass and soil than those blissful hammockers floating peacefully above the grass.   It’s a simple (and incredibly cheap) investment in the mental health and work/life balance of our students and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to attend a school after visiting and seeing students studying and relaxing around the quad in their hammocks?

I’ll sit back and hope that someone from the university decides to reach out and take me up on my offer to help implement a hammock-friendly environment on campus.  In the meantime, if you’re reading this please take a second to visit Matt’s letter and leave a comment of support or simply click the ‘Like’ button to let people know you support Matt’s mission.

Trek Light Gear is proud to help fight for Hammock Rights wherever there’s a need.   If you know of hammock injustice or you know a Hammock Hero fighting for the cause, let us know so we can help. Flashing the image below into the sky may or may not get our attention but it can’t hurt:

Hammock Call
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