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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Fit, fast studying

Senior+Telecommunication+Media+Studies+major%26%23160%3BFrancesca+Graham+studies+for+an+upcoming+exam+on+one+of+the+many+new+bikes+inside+of+Evans+Library.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Carlie Russell

Senior Telecommunication Media Studies major Francesca Graham studies for an upcoming exam on one of the many new bikes inside of Evans Library. 

In an effort to get students thinking about their physical health while staying on top of their studies, the library system has installed six desk bikes in three libraries on campus.
The concept’s inception came as early as 2015, and now the libraries on campus have finally implemented a trial period for workout equipment in study spaces.
The libraries will decide a future course of action based on the feedback they receive.
Derek Halling, interim director at Evans Library, was one of four employees of the libraries to carry this idea into reality. In order to gauge success, Halling said they created a survey for students to fill out upon completion of bike use. The responses have been positive so far.
“We like to take care of our students, and think of them holistically — mind, body and spirit. A lot of the responses have said it’s really helped their focus,” Halling said. “If they start getting sleepy, people will jump on there, get some exercise, and then start studying again. Sometimes they study while on the bike, but it seems that most of the time it’s a break in between studying.”
Interim Director at West Campus Library, Jared Hoppenfeld, said he has seen many of the same positive trends. Hoppenfeld attributes the idea to one of his colleagues, Tanya Carter, who introduced it at a weekly meeting after reading about the bikes in the American Libraries Magazine.
“An actual research project at Clemson was done that showed that use of these bike desks while studying improved academic retention, sleep quality, and performance,” Hoppenfeld said.  “Tanya brought that idea to me, and I saw that it wasn’t going to cost a lot to do a little experiment, so we were able to get six bikes for three of our libraries. I put in a request for money and was approved.”
Hoppenfeld said the libraries aim to publish something based on data they find through A&M students.
“It just started in August, so right now we’re just seeing where it goes. We’ll finish out the survey, see what people said, and look at our options,” Hoppenfeld said. “It’s obvious that this is a success, as far as students liking the ability to exercise while they’re studying in the library.”
Evie Hauptmann, accounting junior, teaches cycling classes at the Student Recreation Center and said she was excited to try out the desk bikes for the first time.
“It’s nice to have something else to do besides just looking at my phone. It actually kept me focused, I really liked it,” Hauptmann said. “I think if people actually take advantage of it, I honestly think it’ll help people focus more. Maybe if you’re super busy and have a test week, it’s something you can do instead of just sitting in the same spot all day.”
Robin Sewell is in charge of bike desk management at the Medical Sciences Library and said there has been less usage of the bikes at her specific library, but that the survey responses have reflected a desire by students for greater privacy while riding.
“We do a lot of things to try and help students be more productive studying. I think activity is something we can add in the library easily,” Sewell said. “These bikes are very quiet, and they aren’t very expensive. It gives students a good way to study and then have a quick break.”
Halling describes the desk bikes as reflecting the libraries’ desire to serve students in as many ways as possible.
“The students are here studying because it’s so important,” Halling said. “But of course your health is important too. We don’t want students to have to choose between their academics and some form of physical activity.”

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