Without a doubt, one of Yuba College’s most quirky attributes is the hammock area located outside of the Music department. Though most see them as simply a place to relax or catch up with friends, the hammocks have quite a history.
The concept for the hammocks came from Dr. Robert Mathews, a music professor here at Yuba College. One day, upon encountering some of his students relaxing under the trees adjacent to the music building, he jokingly told them they should put up some hammocks.
Later that same week, Dr. Mathews was browsing the internet when he came across a website that sold hammocks. “I took it as a sign from the universe, and they had very, very cheap hammocks, and so I ordered three of them,” Dr. Mathews said.
Thus, he had the hammocks, but the process of actually putting them up would involve a great deal of red tape. A year’s worth of red tape, to be exact, according to Dr. Mathews.
The then Vice President of the college nixed the idea because of the hassle he believed the hammocks would create for the campus Maintenance and Operations department. The person that came to the rescue was none other than the then Chief of the Maintenance and Operations department, Randy Joslin.
First, Joslin found chains and bolts that were the right fit for the trees outside of the Music department. The chains and bolts gave the hammocks the ability to “hold elephants,” Dr. Mathews said.
Next, Joslin contacted the district law and insurance offices. He wanted to make sure that the school would not be liable and that its insurance policy would cover the hammocks.
Once given the green light, Joslin put up the the hammocks. They have now been a common sight on campus for three years.
Dr. Mathews puts up the hammocks every morning except for Mondays, which are mowing days. Music students help by taking the hammocks down every afternoon and putting them away. Each hammock is used until it falls apart and gets replaced by a new one.
Many students use the hammocks as a place to relax during a long day of classes. They provide a tranquil environment to escape the rigors of school, even if only for a little while.
It is not uncommon to find a student napping on a hammock. Jose Velazco said that he “fell asleep on the hammocks about two weeks ago after a Calculus class full of difficult concepts.”
The hammocks also serve as place for friends to spend time together. The sight of three to four students on one hammock chatting away is a daily occurrence.
Aside from being a sanctuary for students, the hammocks also add a nice touch to the Yuba College campus. They make the campus seem more inviting and fun.
Dr. Mathews says that he hopes the hammocks will expand to other areas on campus. The idea is that personal touches such as the hammocks create a better learning environment for students.
The personal touches also add a bit of charm to the campus.The good news for students is that Dr. Mathews plans on keeping the hammocks for the foreseeable future.
So the next time you feel stressed before a test or after a class, find a hammock, kick up your legs, forget about your stress and simply relax for awhile.
Note: This article was featured in the Fall 2015 edition of The Prospector.