A petition to add treadmill desks to Lauinger Library was introduced before Thanksgiving break.
Martha Winslow (COL ’21) posted the petition on Facebook as a discussion event to be held today. The petition gained traction, and 137 Facebook users have indicated they expect to attend the event Friday afternoon. Another 368 users expressed interest in the event.
Winslow said she hopes adding treadmill desks to Lau will help students do better academically.
“There have (probably) been studies shown that correlate productivity to standing and/or walking. And honestly like I think I have back problems from leaning over the tables in Lau 2 far too often,” Winslow wrote in the event information section.
Winslow originally got this idea from visiting a friend at a different college where the library actually had treadmill desks, she said.
“I visited my friend who goes to a small college in Santa Barbara and they had treadmill desks in their library — that’s what the picture in the Facebook event is, it’s a picture from their library — and I just thought it was really cool,” Winslow said.
Treadmill desks have potential health benefits, because they enable students to spend their study time standing up, Winslow said.
“I definitely think that the health benefits are important,” Winslow said. “Speaking from my personal experience, I have back problems just because I played a lot of sports growing up which kind of messed up my back — nothing super serious.”
Studies have shown mixed results regarding the effectiveness of using treadmill desks. A University of Michigan study showed that they do not affect thinking processes but do decrease memory function.
The treadmill desks could help mitigate Georgetown’s stress culture, Winslow said.
“It’s also just like part of the Georgetown culture, it’s like you study all the time, you stay up late,” Winslow said. “So I actually think it would be useful and benefit just [your] physical health to be able to walk while you’re doing your readings.”
Winslow said she believes students will feel more comfortable working out and completing academic assignments in Lau than in Yates Field House.
“I know some people who bring their readings to Yates sometimes,” she said. “I’ve never done that because I’m too scared of the judgment, but like if it were here, then there wouldn’t be a judgment because you’re in the library.”
The idea for treadmill desks began as a joke, but Winslow said she is serious about pursuing this change to Lau.
“I have not done a lot of research on this. My current plan is to do some research before I actually present it to some higher authority,” Winslow said. “It started out as lowkey a joke but then it ended up gaining so much support there’s like a ton of people saying that they’re going to an event that I don’t even know. So now I’m like if people actually agree with me then maybe I could take [the petition] somewhere and actually make it happen.”
Casey Doherty (COL ’20), Georgetown University Student Association director of campus affairs, said she plans to bring the petition to the next GUSA senior staff meeting.
“I’m actually planning on bringing it up at my next GUSA senior staff meeting, to see if there’s anything we can do to help this project,” Doherty wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Despite the attention the petition garnered on Facebook, Doherty said GUSA has not yet determined its stance on the petition.
“We haven’t discussed it as a senior staff yet, so I am unsure about anyone else’s interest,” Doherty wrote.
Doherty said she favors the petition, but that the project may need amendments to make it more feasible.
“I am in favor of the petition, but I understand that treadmill desks will be costly,” Doherty wrote. “I would definitely be interested in advocating for less-costly standing desks in Lau.”
The proposal is set to be brought to the GUSA senior staff meeting this Sunday, Dec. 2.