Hastings College Honors Program students receive grant to create Hammock Henge

Four Hastings College Honors students recently received an NCHC Portz Grant for their campus initiative, “Hammock Henge.” The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) offers Portz Grants for honors programs nationwide to promote and support innovative on-campus projects. The students received $700.

Savanah Ellis of Beaver City, Nebraska; Ashley Pedersen of Pierce, Nebraska; Emma Downing of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Max Griffel of La Vista, Nebraska; were asked to focus on a small group project during their Honors Section of CORE101 Interdisciplinary Inquiry course, which is taken by students in their first-year. The project focused on one of the Hastings Habits, “Care of All Things,” and creates a way to embody the habit across campus.

The four worked together to create Hammock Henge, which will consist of a permanent structure on campus with space for 10 hammocks and two tire swings, arranged in a circular, henge-like fashion.

The students started the project in the spring of 2020 but the pandemic brought it to a halt. Last fall, the group chose to continue the project and applied to receive Portz Grant funding to bring Hammock Henge to life.

“I’m proud to see how this team of determined leaders has pursued this project beyond its initial creation as part of the First-Year Seminar,” said Dr. Eleanor Reeds, Hastings College assistant professor of English and sponsor of the project. “Their developed skill in collaborating not only with each other but also with other campus and community partners has enabled them to design and now to implement a project that puts into practice the Hastings Habit of ‘Care of All Things.’”

The Hastings Habit is described as the abundance of time, talents, treasure and people as a gift to shepherd so we may change lives.

The students believe the project upholds Care of All Things by creating a space where students can reconnect with nature and one another. Grant funds will be used to purchase hammocks and tire swings and rent tools to build the space. Hammock Henge will be located on campus and plans are to have it set up by the end of 2021.

“I am thrilled that the Portz selection committee chose to fund the Hastings Hammock Henge project. The students put a tremendous amount of effort into the planning of all aspects of the project, and I am happy that both the ingenuity of the project and the quality of the proposal were recognized,” said Dr. Robert Amyot, a political science professor who advises the Hastings College Honors Program. “They were up against applications from honors programs from all over the world, and came out on top.”

Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement, Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at hastings.edu.

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