On a campus like Cal Poly, full of high-achieving students, it can be difficult to find healthy ways of getting away from it all. A new student group, the Cal Poly Hammock Club, seeks to provide that outlet.
“Our official goal is to introduce students to an outdoor lifestyle through hammocking and to be a way for students to meet like-minded people who also enjoy the outdoors,” said fourth-year mechanical engineering major Carter Wilson, president of the club.
The club’s faculty advisor, English professor and fellow outdoor enthusiast Sean Maddox, sees an added benefit. “This club connects to this culture of holistic learning,” he said. “A lot of times we focus on academics and forget the other aspects of college life, the emotional side and the physical side. The club, in our view, fits these two other roles.” Hammocking allows students to take a break and step away from the classroom, while still promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
The group hosts hikes in the hills around San Luis Obispo and group hammock sessions at the Pismo Beach pier. They also offer rental equipment for students who want to try it out before investing, and officers educate members about hammock safety, both for the people and for the trees holding them up.
It’s not surprising that the club is popular, but what is surprising is just how quickly it’s taken off. “We became an official club at the very beginning of spring quarter 2015, and by the end of the quarter, we had 40 members,” said Wilson. At WOW showcase the next fall, they had around 700 interested students sign up, 200 of whom went to the first meeting, and 180 officially joined the club.
The club’s rapid growth has been mostly organic, based on word of mouth and a June 2015 profile in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The group also draws attention through its robust Instagram account, which documents the club’s adventures.
With an eager following on campus and fun events around the community, there is no doubt that the group will continue to grow. If so, locals will be seeing more and more Cal Poly students literally hanging out around the county.