Nod in a Pod
High-tech Napping Cocoons Installed in McKeldin for the Studying Weary
Two new arrivals to McKeldin Library have students talking, or more accurately, snoring.
The spaceship-like napping pods tucked in the corner of the study lounge near Footnotes Café were installed in a student-led effort to combat stress and fatigue.
“We’ve been approached over a number of years by students seeking a solution and addressing this problem of students needing to grab a few winks,” said Eric Bartheld, director of communications for University Libraries.
Previous pitches, including checking out pillows or sleeping on cots installed in an empty space, were considered unsanitary or lacked privacy. Then Anthony Escalante turned an assignment for a professional business writing class into a proposal.
A former Terp, Escalante spent months researching and developing his project pitch for the Student Facilities Fund—which paid for the pods with money from student fees—and the Student Government Association.
Other projects funded last year included benches in LeFrak Hall, lactation rooms, an ROTC challenge course and improvements to the CARE to Stop Violence Facilities.
Together, the pods cost $21,818. The fund currently has over $2.9 million.
Manufactured by MetroNaps, the napping pods are self-contained units with an adjustable visor for privacy, with piped-in calming music, adjustable lighting and soft vibrations. Unlike cots, they can easily be cleaned with disinfectant wipes.
“It was like Christmas,” Escalante said of seeing the pods delivered and unwrapped. “It felt amazing to see my work come to life.”
The design—something between a giant helmet and a tanning bed—and the concept of the pods have intrigued some students seeking a free snooze. They just have to not mind trying to nap in public with their legs sticking out from an egglike cocoon.
At the end of the 20 minutes, the lights turn on, sunrise-like, the yoga music goes full volume and the massaging chair buzzes to signal that it’s time to get out.
Freshman Josephine Danckaert said she can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, but “even if you don’t get a nap, it’s still relaxing.”
Daniel Kim, a junior dietetics major, said, “I think it’s cool that whoever was in charge of buying this was actually thinking of students’ needs.”
If feedback indicates that the pods are well liked, the library will consider adding more. “It was a student-driven project,” Bartheld said. “We’re just here to support that.”