Hammock park coming soon to Hubbard Park after UISG advocacy

The University of Iowa Student Government passed legislation for a hammock park in order to protect trees on campus and assist students who want to enjoy the outdoors.


(From left) UISG Senators Jacob Heid, Adam Burghduff and Zoe Hamstreet address senators during a UISG meeting in the IMU on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. UISG discussed budget issues and student organization allotted funds.

Eleanor Hildebrandt, News Reporter

Following student requests for a more centralized and comfortable space on campus to hammock when the weather turns warm, the University of Iowa Student Government passed legislation on Tuesday allocated student dollars to create a hammock park in Hubbard Park.

The new park will consist of eight stationary poles that will be cemented in Hubbard and 10 black and yellow hammocks that are rentable from the IMU, said UISG Student Life Committee Chair and Senator Mara Smith, who proposed the legislation.

“It’s going to be at the edge of Hubbard Park by the Danforth Chapel,” Smith said. “We worked directly with facilities [management] and this is the location that they told us would be best. They will be in charge of upkeep as well. 10 hammocks account for people breaking them or damaging them or stealing them …There will be a central pole and the other [seven] surrounding that one.”

She said this legislation is important because enjoying the outdoors is necessary for the mental health of UI students, and because hammocking on the trees around campus hurts the bark and damages the trees.

The funding for this project will come from the UISG contingency fund, she said, and the legislation’s cost after amendments totaled $3,139.90.

Originally, an extra $180 was dedicated for embroidered logos on the hammocks of UISG — which will be USG, or Undergraduate Student Government, by fall 2020 — and the Iowa Memorial Union. UISG Internal Affairs Committee Chair Anna Correa amended the legislation to keep the logos off the hammocks due to concerns about unnecessary costs.

“I’m definitely opposed to spending $180 to stitch logos on the hammocks,” she said. “If the IMU is set on that being a part of the branding, they can pay for it themselves.”

Several senators agreed with Correa, including Zoe Hamstreet, UISG finance committee chair. Hamstreet said this money would be better spent on student organizations and their projects rather than trying to showcase to the student body what UISG does.

RELATED: UISG decrease in contingency funds limits student organization funding

“I agree that we should have increased relationships with the students and that they should know who we are,” she said. “But I can tell you for a fact that a number of student [organizations] know who we are and are upset because we don’t fund them every other week. Student [organizations] have sent me emails [about how] they are very upset that they can’t do things that will advance them through their careers and academics without funding. It’s an unnecessary expense that students will see and question.”

Hamstreet proposed another piece of legislation at UISG’s Tuesday meeting to ensure that student organizations will be given more funding in future years.

Both UISG and the Graduate and Professional Student Government passed legislation Tuesday night allowing for 50 percent of their budgets to go to student organizations and the other 50 percent to be allocated toward fixed costs in the next 3 to 5 years.

Following a long debate, the hammock-park legislation passed 66.7 percent to 33.3 percent Tuesday night, limiting the UISG contingency fund to about $17,000 left for the semester, Hamstreet said.

Smith said this project has been long in the making and only completed through the help of people outside of UISG as well.

“This [project] has been in talks for a really long time,” she said. “Knowing how common hammocking is on campus, if we did a good job promoting the new hammock park, I think it would be used pretty well. A lot of other campuses have them and they’re popular there. I’d assume it’s something a lot of students want to see here.”