Between final exams, work obligations, holiday pressures and application deadlines for transfer universities, December can be a stressful month for Brookdale students. From Dec. 12 to 14, however, those pressures took a backseat to free massages, pinata bashing, coloring stations, therapy dogs, and other stress-free activities during Fall 2017 Anti-Stress Week.
The biannual initiative, sponsored by the Office of Student Life and Activities (SLA) a variety of student clubs and college departments, is designed to give Brookdalians a much-needed break from their routine and help them recharge for the final days of the semester.
“Whether they are new students taking final exams for the first time or returning students who are looking ahead to graduation and applying to four-year universities, our students have a lot on their plate this time of year,” said SLA director Lauren Brutsman. “The week is all about taking a step back, taking a breath and enjoying some time with classmates.”
Programming began on Dec. 12 with “Stress-Less Fest,” co-hosted by SLA, Brookdale’s Psychology and Human Services Department, the Brookdale chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society and the Jewish Student Union. Attendees were offered free table and chair massages, aromatherapy treatments, coffee and refreshments and even candy canes handed out by a wandering Brookdale snowman.
PTK students also set up a variety of tables offering stress-free group activities, including slime-making, bubblewrap-popping, pinata-bashing, rock-painting and an adult coloring book station.
The offerings, part of PTK’s year-long “De-Stress” initiative, were designed to both elevate spirits and promote the idea of “success without stress” to the Brookdale student body, said PTK member Olivia Santarsiero.
“When we focus too much on schoolwork, our brains can really go into overdrive and it becomes that much harder to get anything done,” said Santarsiero, a second-year education major.
“Our project this year is really about de-stressing and being able to reach our goals by calming ourselves down. So, especially during finals, we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to kind of just relax, have fun and take their mind off of that stress for a bit.”
Anti-Stress Week continued on Dec. 13 with all-day movie screenings in the Paramount Lounge and free massages in the Student Life Center. On Dec. 14 festivities moved to the Bankier Library, where a team of certified therapy dogs was ready and waiting to cuddle, play and snap selfies with students.
Dottie the black lab, Juno the Italian spinone, Hershey the poodle, Macy the white collie, Teddy the sheltie, Molly the mini-schnauzer, Tally the black lab/chow mix and Packer the German shepherd spent the afternoon entertaining a capacity crowd of students as part of the biannual “Paws and Relax” program, co-sponsored by Bankier Library staff and the Student Veterans Club.
“Molly was my favorite, for sure,” said second-year English major Thomas Faulkner, who came directly to the event after completing a math final. “She laid down on the floor right in front of me, and I even got a little Molly trading card to take home.
“Having these guys here was a really good way to take a bit of a load off,” Faulkner added. “I got out of the grips of math and into the grips of dogs. And I got some free coffee too, which I’m a big fan of. I think we should do this more often.”
View the full list of upcoming Student Life events by visiting the Student Life and Activities webpage.
Check out more photos of the Spring 2017 Anti-Stress Week here.