Stress, sleep deprivation and illness during finals week is not optimal. So, North Carolina State University (NC State) decided to help its students survive.
In its inaugural year, Finals Survival Week was launched on campus. Suzanne Hunt, the coordinator for wellness outreach, was the link between University Recreation and other departments and partners coming together to build the program.
The goal was simple: Implement new and innovative ideas for events and initiatives to help support students during finals week. “All of these campus partners really value the impact of student success and the way that all of these groups work toward the same goal because we are here for the students,” said Adam Sardinha, the marketing communications specialist for University Recreation at NC State. “We want to make sure they’re successful especially in this time of their life. I think this is almost a no brainer for everybody that was at the table to be like, oh why didn’t we do it sooner?”
Departments across campus came together to plan events and serve up resources for students during NC State’s finals week. One of the ideas was the Zen Study Den, a five-hour event held in the University Recreation space. Students could come to study in an area that was outside of the library, as well as receive free coffee and healthy snacks.
Various departments also put Final Survival Kits together. For example, NC State’s dining department provided calming tea bags and KIND bars. University Recreation provided stress balls and the bags that everything would be put inside.
There was also a Yoga and Yogurt event, complete with a 50-minute restorative yoga session in the school union, and then free yogurt afterwards. “Regardless of whether you have experience doing yoga or not, just taking that time for yourself and to reduce your stress and forget about this hectic time of the year for a little bit,” said Hunt.
Behind the scenes, Hunt said the biggest hurdle in organizing the Finals Survival Week was making sure they had enough time to organize. It helped however she had already established relationships with other campus partners. “Everyone handles different resources and different connections, and we’ve just really tried to utilize those to the best of our abilities to get everything together in a timely manner,” said Hunt.
Sardinha said unifying departments across campus in a streamlined, consistent message is instrumental. While some departments in the past may have wanted to get involved in a Finals Survival Week, some didn’t know how. But, the collaboration between University Recreation and the rest of the campus now allows all departments to figure out a way to get involved.
“But as a university, as a whole, we’re here trying to support [student’s] overall well being and academic success, so instead of previously what was happening, people were doing their own thing as far as their own programming and their own initiatives to combat this issue on campus, and instead we wanted to come together and be able to make a more universal, university-known effort,” said Hunt.