Photo and story by Daniel Shaw-Remeta / Contributing Writer
MTSU Raider Health Corps’ “De-stress Fest” was held Wednesday outside of the Student Union Building to help students relieve stress and take part in some fun and relaxing activities before tackling final exams in the upcoming weeks. Several stations were set up, and each one offered a different activity to relieve stress, such as petting dogs from nonprofit organization Operation Education Animal Rescue, decorating custom sleep masks, painting rocks and eating chocolate.
“It’s the end of the semester,” said Vinny Black, an MTSU health coach and an organizer of the event. “Students are stressed to the max with papers and exams. It’s all kind of coming to a head here at the end, and De-Stress Fest is our attempt to reach out and say, ‘Hey, have a little fun … Just take care of yourself.’ A lot of students aren’t doing that. They’re putting themselves on the back-burner and school on the front-burner. Why not take 15 to 20 minutes, hang out with us (and) take care of yourself?”
In addition to the tables with various activities, students were encouraged to play “Battle Ball,” which is where two people each wear a bubble, or a ball large enough to cover the top half of their body, and then charge at one another.
“The Rec Center is here playing (Battle) Ball to relieve some frustration,” Black said. “You and a friend can get in there and whack each other a little bit. We also have yoga classes and then a dance-fit class later on today.”
The yoga and dance-fit classes gave students an opportunity to relax and get a moderate amount of exercise during what most students consider to be the most stressful time of the semester.
Black said that although this is only his second year helping with the brainstorming, organization and implementation of De-Stress Fest, he has seen several additions to the activities that are offered and an increase in student participation.
“My role is in implementation, setup and then the brainstorming and creation of this event,” he said. “My supervisor, Lisa Schrader, (is) excellent at creating these partnerships. The dogs weren’t always a part of this event. We were able to create that partnership a year ago, and now it’s become a trending thing that we do every time. Also, our presence with the Rec has increased every year with this event.”
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