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ASUCLA considers proposal to install sleep pods

By John Peter Cavender

Nov. 1, 2013 1:13 a.m.

The Associated Students UCLA Board of Directors is currently considering a proposal to install between seven and 11 sleep pods in Ackerman Union – a plan that has provoked mixed reactions from the UCLA community.

If approved by the board, sealed, cylindrical nap spaces would replace the lounge and pool table on the third floor of Ackerman Union. The roughly 7-by-4-foot pods would cost between $30,000 and $45,000 to purchase and install, said Adam Swart, an undergraduate representative on the ASUCLA Board of Directors and a fifth-year political science student.

Only students with valid BruinCards would be allowed to sleep or study in the pods, Swart said. Right now, ASUCLA is considering purchasing the pods from Podtime, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer. The 200-pound stack-able pods will include internal LED lighting and outlets for charging electronics, according to Podtime’s website.

Swart brought this proposal to the board last week, after getting it unanimously approved by the ASUCLA Services Committee.

Swart said he was partly inspired to bring sleeping pods to campus a few years ago, after chatting with a commuter student, who woke up around 5 a.m. every day to ride a vanpool from Palmdale to UCLA for her 8 a.m. classes. Because of the vanpool schedule, she would not be able to return home until 6 or 7 p.m., leaving her constantly sleep deprived and stuck on campus for hours longer than necessary, Swart said. He said installing sleep pods would allow commuter students like her to get the chance to recharge while still on campus.

Grace Lee, a fourth-year psychobiology student, said she is against the proposal because she thinks the money could be better spent on something more students would benefit from, such as a free printing center. Lee said she thinks the lounge isn’t very accessible and she doubts that students would use the space to nap.

“That money wouldn’t be used as efficiently as it could be,” Lee said.

Powell Library already has couches and benches that students can sleep on, she said.

While some students said they had some sanitary concerns with the pods, other students said they liked the idea.

Tiffany Yuan, a fourth-year psychology student, said she sleeps in between classes once or twice a quarter, and she would like to have a designated place to sleep on campus.

“It would be a good investment,” Yuan said.

Roy Champawat, the director of the UCLA Student Union, said that the funds which would be used to purchase the pods would stem from ASUCLA earnings, which come from entities such as the student store.

In addition to the cost of purchase and installation, Swart said the “nap room” would probably need an attendant, which would cost ASUCLA about $15 an hour, to insure that the pods were used properly and that people’s belongings aren’t stolen.

Swart said to compensate for this, pod users would be charged between $1 and $3 an hour. Swart said he estimated that the operating hours would probably be between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., with no overnight use.

Jay Sanchez, a 45-year-old UCLA facilities mechanic, said he plays pool in the lounge every day with his coworkers during their 45-minute lunch break.

He said he would miss the pool table lounge if it were transformed into a nap room.

“It’d be a shame if they took that away,” he said.

Swart says that the board will vote on the proposal during their next meeting on Dec. 6. If the proposal gets a majority vote, Swart believes the purchasing and installation would begin in the next couple of months.

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