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Onward Investigates: Why Are There Beds In Campus Restrooms?

It might not sound real at first, but believe me, this is all too true.

You can find beds in a handful of women’s restrooms throughout campus. So if you ever feel the need to nap after a wee, you can rest well knowing that there might be a bed available for you — if you’re in the right spot.

I first noticed the concept at the end of my freshman year. I was studying on the third floor of Pattee library during finals season when the urge to use the restroom suddenly arose.

Naturally, I headed over to the nearest bathroom and got in line for the stalls. While I waited, however, I noticed a room off to the side of the restroom that housed what appeared to be a bed.

I didn’t think much of it at first. After all, when you’re using a restroom, your mind is usually occupied by more important matters. But then after seeing a bed in another on-campus bathroom in my sophomore year, I began to ponder just why exactly there were beds in some of these restrooms.

As it turns out, the “beds” in these restrooms aren’t actually beds at all. Rather, they’re chaise lounge chairs. You can’t actually snooze on one like you would in your bedroom at home.

The idea of beds in bathrooms is not some crazy idea that Penn State came up with out of nowhere. In fact, the phenomenon dates back to Victorian England and The Public Health Act of 1848, which brought to light the need for improvements in public sanitation.

In the case of women, beds provided an area for them to breastfeed, fix themselves up, and tend to other feminine hygiene needs. And while the concept of lounge chairs in bathrooms still seems like something most women would enjoy having in public restrooms, they’ve slowly become obsolete.

“They’re leftovers essentially, kind of like a rotary-dial telephone,” Susan Bedsworth from OPP said.

And while you can still find chaise lounge chairs in the women’s restrooms of the Nursing Sciences Building and the third floor of Pattee library, they’re a fad Penn State has been slowly phasing out.

“When we go to renovate a restroom and find them, we try to capture the space for better use,” Bedsworth said. “Sometimes, for example, the extra space is used to make a restroom more ADA accessible.”

If you’re a bed-in-bathroom stan like I am, make sure you enjoy the chaise lounge chairs while they last. Much like our time in college, they won’t be around forever, so get your tuition’s worth.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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