REST Zones open on campus

Nicole White/File

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Students will now be able to snooze between classes, as the ASUC Office of Academic Affairs vice president has just opened several designated napping areas across campus.

The office held a launch event for these Relaxation Enhancing Study and Tranquility, or REST, Zones on Thursday on Sproul. The zones are located in Bechtel Engineering Center, Wurster Hall, Eshleman Hall and the Tang Center.

“I really want to introduce this new mindset — that it’s O.K. to nap and it’s O.K. to take a break, especially when so many students at this school are affected by mental health issues,” said ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Melissa Hsu.

The REST Zones consist of small areas outfitted with comfortable lounge chairs. The first four zones will accommodate a total of about 15 students at one time, according to Hsu.

The creation of the REST Zones and their furniture was funded by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees, or CACSSF, and the Wellness Initiative Fee. CACSSF contributed $80,000 while the fee provided an additional $12,000 directly to the zones and another $12,000 to the Tang Center for related marketing and massage chairs.

Much of this funding was acquired by Hsu, who began advocating for the creation of REST Zones more than a year ago.

“I noticed … that people weren’t getting enough sleep, and that directly related to their mood,” Hsu said.

According to Maddy Abroms, the director of the REST Zones project, in a survey on wellness, “one of the biggest complaints among students is a lack of sleep.”

One of the sources of funds, the wellness referendum, was passed by the ASUC last spring and allocates funds for student wellness, including mental health. A $54 per-semester fee, included in student tuition, goes toward the Tang Center and other mental and physical health services such as the REST Zones.

Students who attended the launch voiced enthusiasm for the REST Zones.

The REST Zones are intended for student use and have been placed in locations that are visited primarily by students, Hsu said, although they will not be regularly monitored.

There will be signs with rules for use of the designated furniture, according to Abroms.

Although Hsu said that the creation of REST Zones isn’t sufficient for combating mental health issues, she still sees it as a positive sign.

“It’s a step to show administration that people care about mental health here,” Hsu said.

The office expects to open several more REST Zones later this semester or in fall 2016.

Maxwell Jenkins-Goetz covers higher education. Contact him at [email protected].

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Wellness Fee provided $12,000 in funds directed to the Tang Center that used for related marketing. In fact, about $5,000 was used for related marketing. $6,000 was directed to purchase two massage chairs for the center.