Slackers on Campus

May 8, 2013

Slacklining gives students a mental break and a sense of community.

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For many Pacific University students, sun and slack are synonymous.

When the ground is dry and the sun is shining, there are sure to be people balancing and tricking on a polyester “slackline” strung between the trees in front of Clark Hall.

Slacklining is the practice of balancing on the nylon or polyester webbing between two anchor points. Unlike a tightrope, the line stretches and bounces like a narrow trampoline.

The craze caught on at Pacific University sometimes after Ted Wogan ’15 bought a slackline two years ago. Since then, it’s become a part of the student culture and an embodiment of a way of life for a new sort of “slackers.”

“Slacklining is like music in the way it’s a great way to congregate people,” said Stacy Friscia ’15.

For Michael Monahan ’15, it’s about the people. He remembers Easter Sunday in particular, when everyone slacked all day and sat in a circle talking around a smart phone “fire” until dark.

“People just don’t get together and connect on a deep level like that these days,” he said. “The community aspect all of the slackers have is so unique here.”

He also recalls countless times when he’s started slacking alone and, within 10 minutes, has been surrounded by a group of people, who later became his friends.

Friscia said everyone is welcome to try the line. She said the group of slackers is and approachable and friendly community.

Donte Holloway ’14 said he loves being out and slacking with everyone, even just to hang out, because it’s a time not encumbered by academia, deadlines, assignments or stress. It’s like playing outside as children.

Part of what keeps the slackers outside sometimes six hours a day is the mental release slacklining gives them.

“I am a very stressed-out person,” said Friscia. “What I really love about slacking is that it really clears your mind. It’s like meditating and exercising at the same time.

Holloway agreed.

“When I’m slacking, nothing goes through my head. It’s very primal and intuitive. I have never been so in touch with my body than I am when I’m up on the line.”

Perrin Jones ’15 said what makes the slackline special is that people come to it as a refuge.

“Everyone is so carefree,” he said. “We get to escape from studying and the regular stresses of being a college student. To me, this is what Pacific is all about.”