To combat the stress and anxiety that hits nearly all students at the end of each term, Utah State University (USU) Campus Recreation ran its end-of-semester Rec Your Stress event from December 5-7.
Ran in partnership with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), students were treated to three straight days of relaxing, healthy activities to escape from the tribulations of academia.
Amanda Bray, the assistant director of Healthy Lifestyle Programs and Community Engagement, said the event usually takes place during USU’s No Test Week which occurs right before finals week.
“We had really good traffic throughout the event,” said Bray. “At the end of the day, everybody is trying to do something to help students out. Anytime we can provide an opportunity for students is good for us because we are in this job for them.”
On December 5, the Rec Your Stress programming kicked off with the “Stress Bust” in the Aggie Recreation Center. This provided students with various mental health modules focusing on belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, mindfulness and meditation, healthy thinking, test anxiety, body acceptance, self-care, and more.
Along with these module sessions, participants could also play board games, mindfully eat treats and interact with therapy dogs.
The second day featured two events. The Aggie Recreation Center Loft played host to a 7 a.m. yoga class. Then in the evening, students enjoyed a holiday-themed spin class in the Aggie Recreation Center spin room. Bray said the music was holiday-themed and participants were welcome to dress in their favorite holiday attire.
The final event on Wednesday was an ugly sweater and gaming party in the recently opened Esports Center. Bray said over 70 students attended this activity and played games like Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, Dungeons and Dragons, and virtual reality games.
Benefits, Growth and Collaborations
Bray said the last day being devoted to video games successfully showcased their esports program to the student body.
“It’s good to have different events that cater to different students on campus,” said Bray. “We were definitely able to see a lot of different students. The esports event was fun because most of the students who attended were brand new to the space and the group.”
Bray said Rec Your Stress is even more valuable now with so many young adults battling mental health issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Especially now with the mental health crisis, being able to have these opportunities to build bonds is so important for students who really need it,” said Bray. “Whenever we went into COVID-19 everything was virtual. and we are trying to get away from that now. We want to get people back in person and having experiences with each other. I think this went really well.”
Bray added the event would not be possible without the partnerships created with other campus departments such as CAPS.
“It’s always good to partner with other entities on campus,” said Bray. “The more people you get involved, the bigger the event will be and the more reach it will have. We are all in it for the same goal which is benefitting our students.”
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