Napping makes public placessleepy spaces

Joe Carlson

For years, University students have engaged in the three R’s of higher education — reading, ‘riting and resting.
Sleeping on campus is a widespread phenomenon; students can be caught napping in nooks and crannies nearly everywhere on campus. However, some of the most popular spots for slumber tend to be in high-profile areas.
Computer science senior Sherrie Nalipinski took a short trip into dreamland on a couch Tuesday evening on the ground-floor study area in Coffman Union.
“I can sleep better here than I can at home,” Nalipinski said.
At first she sat down to catch up on her studies, but the comfortable furniture and low din of background conversation lulled her to sleep before long.
Like many college students who struggle to make ends meet outside of class, Nalipinski said she works at her job until late at night. Losing sleep to earn money to pay for tuition is taxing on the body and mind; Nalipinski said she needs to take cat naps here and there to catch up on much-needed rest.
But sleeping in public is not for amateurs. The practice is fraught with dangers of both public embarrassment and theft.
“One time I woke up and I was talking in my sleep really loud. People were looking at me,” she said.
“At least I don’t snore.”
But public spectacle might be better than having a bookbag stolen, though.
University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson said thefts of backpacks and wallets from sleeping students is very common. She said thieves often patrol areas where it’s common to see students sleeping in public, such as lounges and study areas.
“We have career thieves, and those are the areas they hang around,” Benson said. “It’s a big problem on campus.”
But in sleepy students’ minds, the dangers of public sleep can vanish like words in a boring textbook.
Joel Nordell, a computer science senior, said he can usually be seen sleeping in Coffman two or three times per week. Although he lives near campus, he said his pocketbook keeps him on campus.
“It’s not that long of a drive, but I’d have to pay twice for parking,” he said.
In short, choppy sentences, Nordell translated his groggy thoughts into sentence fragments in the Coffman lounge. He explained what he looks for when he wants to find a spot on campus to crash for a little while is “primarily comfortable furniture.”
Perhaps Nordell should compare notes with David Fujan, a junior in electrical engineering.
Fujan said he is a sort of a connoisseur of sleeping in public. After having slept in many of the popular spots on campus, he rated the lounge and study area on the ground floor of the Electrical Engineering building among the most comfortable.
“This is one of the best,” he said, referring to one of the building’s couches.
Unlike Fujan and Nordell, electrical engineering senior Pete Anderson didn’t intend to go visit the sandman Tuesday when he sat down at one of the tables in a lounge inside the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.
His cheeks and forehead still reddened from sleeping face-down at his study table, Anderson said he fell asleep because of an early electrical engineering class in studying various power systems. A graphing calculator laid on top of a book on linear controls opened to a page in the middle that displayed various color schematics and diagrams.
“It makes an excellent pillow,” Anderson said.