Entrepreneurship students bring standing desks to Mudd Library

Humans are bipedal creatures. This means that walking, running and standing are really our thing. Then why have we spent the majority of our formal education sitting?

In Associate Professor of Economics Adam Galambos and Lecturer of Economics and Coleman Fellow Gary Vaughan’s class “The Art of Entrepreneurship,” one group of students launched a whole campaign, LU Stand Up, to bring us humans back to our upright roots. Seniors Nathan Eckstein, Brynley Nadziejka and Christopher Bohl are proposing the idea of standing desks.

Professor Vaughan said,  “The goal of the project is to think in the entrepreneur mindset. Can [students] take an idea and put their thoughts and ideas into action?”

As a result, the group had to consider if students would positively respond to standing desks.

“I definitely never really considered the idea of standing,” admits Eckstein, “but when Brynley suggested the project it just seems like such an innovative way of thinking. Since the project, I have been standing and enjoying the benefits.”

These benefits are directly linked with our overall wellbeing.

“We’re really excited about how much more focused and energetic we feel when we are standing up and working as opposed to sitting,” stressed Nadziejka.

Currently, there are two standing desks available for public use on the first floor of the library. A company called stand2learn, which makes standing desks strictly for the academic setting, donated them. Standing desks have been used mainly in primary- and secondary-level learning. Therefore, Lawrence’s new partnership with stand2learn is a big step for both parties.

“If a larger implementation of these desks works out, Lawrence would be one of the first higher level learning institutions that uses standing desks,” remarked Bohl.

The goal of the project is to add two desks, with wheels, to every floor of each academic building. Through this, Lawrence can gauge student response to the desks and consider including them in every classroom.

“The desks have the options to come with a stool. That way students wouldn’t be either standing up high or sitting down low [in a classroom]. Everyone could be at the same height,” adds Bohl.

While LU Stand Up is excited about standing desks, they recognize that different students have different needs.

“Just like I don’t like being forced to sit through all my classes, we don’t want to make students stand through all their classes,” said Nadizejka, “It is about giving students more options in the classrooms.”

Now, they have to consider funding.

“[Their obstacle] is financially driven. I think they have done a very good job on the marketing side and surveying the users — the students — so now they have to find the funds,” adds Professor Vaughan. Currently, the group is using a crowdfunding platform.  As it seeks to buy more desks, LU Stand Up does not want to lose sight of its purpose.

“Standing is better for your short- and long-term health,” said Nadziejka, “[Humans] are not meant to sit.”