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It’s Time To Bring A Napping Lounge To Penn State

I recently worked up the courage to go to a place I’d never been before. A place that some avoid out of fear, while others depend on it to get through their time here at Penn State.

I am not referring to frat row or any of the three gyms. I am referring to the reading room in Pattee Library, or as most know it, the Harry Potter room.

The Harry Potter room is well known for its pure silence, which is why many students love it. On the contrary, other students loathe it because they like to talk and make noise. Honestly, I was actually scared of it because I didn’t want to accidentally piss anyone off. I wouldn’t purposely make noise, but I feared that even breathing too loudly is frowned upon. I didn’t want to unzip my bag and catch a death stare from an ultra-focused academic weapon. As such, I just steered clear for most of my time at Penn State.

Nonetheless, I eventually decided to venture into this mysterious room recently. It was very quiet. I expected this, and I was prepared for this.

What I did not expect was to find an excessive amount of students fast asleep.

I’m not talking about students resting their eyes, lying down, or scrolling through TikTok. I mean a deep sleep — a shot of NyQuil and a few melatonin gummies-type sleep. At that moment, I started thinking about the intersection of napping and college students.

Personally, I’m unable to nap, but my best friend naps religiously in the middle of the day. This is a pretty typical behavior of college students. It makes sense considering the average college student doesn’t go to bed until 2 a.m. if they’re lucky.

During the weekends, students can get away with going to bed so late because we don’t typically have to wake up early (as long as there isn’t a noon game). During the week though, not so much. I’ve learned college is just a constant state of being tired. Everybody is tired.

Stumbling upon this unique scene of multiple students taking naps in the library got me thinking. For those who live on campus, taking a mid-day snooze is easy. All they have to do is hop on a bus loop, eventually get back to their dorm, and fall asleep. Someone living on campus can be in their dorm taking a nap within 20 minutes easily.

Living off campus, like myself, comes with plenty of benefits. Those benefits do not include easy and quick access to a little noon-time sleepy session, though.

Personally, I have one class that ends at 11 a.m. and the next starts at 2 p.m. This is simply not enough time for me to get in my vehicle or even take a bus back to my apartment, take a nap, and then return to campus. My fellow deep-off-campus-ers and I are at a disadvantage here. As such, I understand why students sleep in the library. For those off campus, there is simply no other option.

But every problem has a solution.

The ~Sleep Center~ at Penn State has entered the chat.

Have you ever seen or heard about those capsule or pod hotels in Japan? They’re basically little pods in the wall that are just large enough to house a bed. Instead of booking a whole hotel room, guests can simply book one of these capsules for the night at a significantly cheaper rate.

They are only for sleeping. There are no TVs or mini-fridges. You get a bed in the wall with a pillow and a blanket. If you’re lucky, they might even throw in a phone charger.

Japanese Sleeping Pods | Courtesy of Forbes
Photo by Geoffrey Morrison | Forbes

When I found myself pondering the idea of napping on campus, the capsule hotels in Japan are what immediately popped into my head. I believe Penn State should invest in renovating a part of the library into “The Sleep Center” (or Nittany Naps). There’s still time to flesh out the name.

Here’s how it would work: a tired, possibly hungover, or just stressed student enters “The Sleeping Center.” They’re met with a little turnstile entry gate similar to that in the Pollock Testing Center where one swipes their ID and gains access.

As much as I love the local community, this center is only for students. The ID swipe access helps to enforce this. At this same entry gate, there is a touch monitor showing the pods available. The student selects an open pod, reserving it for the next 30 minutes or an hour. The system only allows for one person per bed, for cleanliness and to satisfy the Willard Preacher. The student walks over to their pod, climbs on into bed, and gets a well-needed snooze. At the end of the session, the bed vibrates to wake the students up and continues to vibrate until they leave. Lastly, a Sleep Center attendee replaces the pillow while a UV light sanitizes the pod for the next student.

The library is an incredible space with insanely great resources. However, there are some areas that are not very functional or beneficial to student life. There is definitely some room where we could squeeze a mere 30 sleep pods in. If not, I know the OPP is up to build another level or segment of the library.

I can’t speak for everyone, but if my student fee were to go up about $10 in order for “The Sleeping Center” to be built on campus, I wouldn’t mind — and I don’t even nap. It would just be cool to talk and tell people about it. Imagine flexing that you go to a school with its own creamery and futuristic napping lounge.

Surely there’s plenty of research about the benefits of power naps for all people, especially college students. Most likely, numerous students would love to have this resource and take advantage of it. From my perspective, I don’t care about any of that. I just want to brag about “The Sleep Center at Penn State” to my friends and family.

When and where can I get a sit-down with President Neeli Bendapudi and the Fee Board?

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About the Author

Rico Gore

Rico is a senior advertising major from Pittsburgh who has been with Onward State since just a couple weeks into his freshman year. He loves to drink Diet Coke and eat Mexican food. You can follow Rico on Instagram @RealBigRico and TikTok @RealBigRico.

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