During midterms week, the Office of Communiversity held an event for commuters to destress. A culmination of students, both commuters and on-campus residents, gathered in the Cougar Dome from 7 to 9 p.m. for treats, art and an hour-long yoga session.
As this was a first-time event on campus, junior biology-chemistry major and commuter life assistant Chloe Barrett intended to create an atmosphere for commuter students to come take a break from their daily lives. Barrett’s job as one of the eight commuter life assistants of Communiversity is to cater to off-campus residents and build a sense of community among them. In an effort to do this, commuter life assistants are expected to plan an event once a semester for the commuter population.
“The goal was to help students feel less stressed about all the responsibilities they have so they can focus on what is important,” Barrett said.
To calm their stresses, she laid out snacks and pumpkin candles for them to decorate for the Halloween season. Though her intentions were to assist students in getting rid of their anxiety through conversation and activity, she also wanted to convey the idea to students that their concerns aren’t greater than God, but that their God is greater than their concerns.
“I hope that I was able to show God’s love and that He is our rock and we do not need to have anxiety about the days to come,” she said.
While preparing for the event, Barrett paid special attention to how she decorated the Cougar Dome. In the far back, she laid out a table of treats. The treats included healthy snacks to give students an idea of the kinds of things they can eat while studying. To appeal to the eye and mind, Barrett intentionally color coordinated the table.
“I had the detailed coloring out which has been shown to help calm the mind,” Barrett said. She included carrots, cheese and crackers and different choices of tea, all of which were different shades of orange.
After an hour of snacks, conversation and decoration, students transitioned to a time of yoga with yoga instructor Michelle Pasos, who teaches yoga in the applied exercise science major. As a group, they did basic vinyasa flow to help get the body moving from sitting around all day.
With dimmed lights and calming music, Pasos walked students through different breathing techniques. As she talked about the importance of breathing, she informed students of what happens to the body when stress takes over.
“Your breath is the first thing that goes when you’re stressed,” Pasos said to students as they laid on their yoga mats with their eyes closed. She encouraged students to be present and to not think of their many tasks as the yoga session came to an end.
With anxiety escalating for students on campus, some are beginning to look for a reason to relax.
“This event has helped me to not think too much about school work and just have fun because I’ve been stressed out,” freshman journalism major Tien Thai said. “I need to get rid of stress and feel more relaxed and healthy.”
Some students agree that an event like this came at the right time while others thought that it’d be great to have something like this a few times a semester.
“I saw the email and decided to come, but I saw that it was for commuters and since I’m an on-campus resident, I didn’t know if I was allowed to join. However, I like what Communiversity is doing and I hope we can have an event similar to this one more often,” senior theology major Angelique Pickett said.
Though the budget is small for the planned events by commuter life assistants, Barrett said she would like for this event to be expanded to the entire student body.
If you have any questions, concerns and/or interest in helping out in some way, Barrett and the other commuter life assistants are available at the Cougar Dome desk throughout the week.