The Daily Gamecock

New Hammock Club promotes time outdoors with friends on campus

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: A portable hammock and rigging system ready to be deployed.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: A portable hammock and rigging system ready to be deployed.

Laura Doughton, a second-year political science and geology student, and her friends enjoy hammocking outside around campus. After realizing other students could also benefit from time outdoors, these friends sought to turn their love for the laid-back hobby into something more official. 

Last month, co-presidents Doughton and Lauren Donahue, a second-year political science student, decided to officially make the Hammock Club an organization at USC. The idea started in a group chat where the friends discussed hammocking together. As time went on, it blossomed into something more.

“It was something we enjoyed, so we figured maybe other people would enjoy it,” Doughton said. “A big part of college is having those social interactions with friends, and it’s so hard to find time to do that.”

Lloyd said that the club offers an easy way to spend time with friends in a relaxing setting. Club meetings are discussed and planned on GroupMe. Members primarily use the club time to read, do school work or decompress. 

“I think taking time to be with friends and have that social interaction and be outside is really beneficial for me mentally,” Doughton said. “I figured other people could also relate to that.”

Turning a group activity into a registered campus club was surprisingly simple. Lloyd and Doughton said there had to be a minimum of seven members before Donahue could fill out the application on GarnetGate. After registering the club, she wrote a document listing club rules and policies for USC to approve. The entire process only took Donahue around two or three days, which was much quicker than anyone had anticipated. 

After the club was officially registered with USC, they began accepting new members, such as Kat West, the club's treasurer and a second-year public relations student.

West said that she looks forward to hammock time because it gives her a chance to focus on herself, as well as spend time with her friends. She also said that the club gives students the opportunity to enjoy nature without any additional stress or responsibility.

"It's a way to just recollect yourself and take time to get to know yourself as an individual," West said.

The club's founders do not plan on heavily advertising their club, as they wish to avoid an influx of students joining who are not as committed.

“It becomes a problem where it’s like, suddenly there’s a bajillion people trying to do this. The main spot we go to, it could maybe hold 10 people’s worth of hammocks,” Aden Lloyd, vice president of the club and a second-year political science and history student, said.

Lloyd said that the bigger the club becomes, the more logistical issues the presidents and vice presidents would have to manage — which could potentially be stressful.

He added that he would like to keep the club "low-key" but the club's leadership would not necessarily be upset if the organization grew.

Doughton said that people who join the Hammock Club could meet others who enjoy hammocking and form groups outside of the club where they could meet on their own time. The club has the potential to become a medium for “people to find other people,” she said.

"(It's nice to) get out in public and just hang out," West said. "It really is kind of a cool experience."