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Here's what Edinburgh students are really thinking about their new nap pods

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On Monday the results of an online ballot were released showing that students at the University of Edinburgh had voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to purchase 'nap pods' for the university library.

However it seems that the result (1,616 voted for the move, with only 286 against), might not really represent the feelings of the student body, so we asked some of them for their opinions.

What comes across strongest in speaking to students is that many feel the purchase is a waste of already limited funding which should be used to support the over-stretched counselling service or provide more study spaces.

Liam Rees, a third year French and Spanish student, says: “It´s good that the university is recognising mental health is an issue. Now to get them to tackle the root causes rather than symptoms - they should really focus on the causes of mental health issues like insufficient student support or study space and then nap pods wouldn't be all that necessary”

Another student added: “It´s good they're listening to students but I think its shady that I can´t get any more counselling from the university and would have to go private but they can afford to build novelty 'nap pods' - and the people who sleep in the library do it anyway!”

Edinburgh University library

First year History and Politics student Ellen Blunsdon says: “Edinburgh could very easily use the money to make the student union cheaper or provide more support for students from lower income backgrounds.

"These measures would boost student satisfaction more than wasting valuable study space on these nap pods that are going to be constantly full of people who could just go home.

"So yes, good in theory but not in practice.”

One student had a suggestion for a better way in which the university could spend the funds – on more puppy stress-buster sessions.

However amongst a sea of negativity, with some describing the move as “a ridiculous waste of money”, “embarrassing” and calling for students to “manage their own sleep better”, there is still some strong support for the idea.

Damon Allan, a third year law student, says: “This might not seem to be a big priority to those living in Edinburgh, but is such a great thing for those commuting from home.

"When I lived in Edinburgh last year, my flat was five minutes from campus, so I could easily go back for a nap if I wanted to, but when I lived at home in first year, there were some days I would be up at 7am, and still be in uni at 6pm that night.

"This was tiring for me so I dread to think what it would be like for someone who suffers a sleeping disorder or the like. Definitely a great idea.”

Another key concern is for science students who are based at King's Buildings, which is a 45-minute walk from the main university campus.

Third year Chemistry student Hayley Russell told us: “The students at King's Buildings have been asking for more peak time shuttle buses for months and have been told no, so it would be really annoying to see money spent on something like sleep pods instead, especially as they've actually cut a stop out of the bus schedule this year!”

Delilah Niel, a third year Linguistics student agreed, suggesting that as students studying at King's are more often up early it should be they who have nap pods as opposed to students in the central campus.

Kings buildings

Many students took issue at the high price of the pods, with one calculating:

“A potential cost of 40 grand for pods which only (4/34000 x 100 = 0.012%) of the student population can use at any one time seems to be a crazy amount of money.

“Also the justification they used about how "students need be involved in more societies nowadays for their CVs, which often means they lose out on sleep at night" is a bit of a stretch - sports are mostly in the afternoon and most societies end by 10pm latest, so unless you're in some midnight bodysnatching society I don't quite see the causality. But that´s just a small part of their justifications I'm sure.”

Many students seem to feel that the move shows a lack of understanding on the part of EUSA and the university. Third year English Language and Literature student Anna Whealing says that the decision showed “a misguided view of student welfare.”

Anna adds: “If it's just that students have a bad work ethic and are doing too much partying then from an academic point of view Edinburgh shouldn't be encouraging that.”

Another student agreed, adding: “The answer should have been a resounding no. EUSA is once again going for high level strange things and forgetting that normal, everyday life for students is hard.”

So why, in the face of so much criticism from the very people intended to benefit, was the vote won by such a landslide?

It seems that if there´s one thing we can take away from 2016 it´s that those who want change are more likely take action, and the rest of the population often prove too apathetic to form any sort of real resistance.

It's now for the university administration to decide how to respond, but as they wait many students are concerned about the negative impact the purchase might have.

Billy Brake, a second year English Literature and History student, says: “I think they'll decrease student productivity, as well as lecture attendance. I think the only situation in which they're reasonable is if it somehow recognises you've been in the library long enough to nap. Otherwise, you're just avoiding work or being lazy.”

Images by John Lambert PearsonGraeme Yuill and M J Richardson




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