Photos: ‘De-Stress Fest’ helps MTSU students unwind before finals

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. There was even a station set up that allowed students to get helpful advice on stress relief, from exercise and healthy diets to sleep schedules and health supplements. Some students stated that they would speak with the on-campus student clinic for more advice on over the counter supplements such as ashwagandha capsules that could help them wind down after a long day of studying and exams. The station organizers hoped that the advice given to students could help them through their self-care and mental health. While we’re on the topic of stress, it could also be as simple as checking out sites like to find a new mattress (to improve the comfort levels during the night, as we know how important sleep is), talking to people about your feelings, writing everything down or even reducing caffine intake.

“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?” Even though stress is common, this doesn’t mean that people should have to go through it every day. With this being said, as there are various methods such as trying an ionic detox foot bath to get rid of toxins in the body, speaking to friends/family about various struggles or even doing something as simple as exercising in the home, these are just some ways that students may be able to relieve their stresses during the exam period.

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.

“It’s nice to be able to just come and chill for a little bit, pet some dogs, eat some chocolate and talk to people,” said Ryan Munns, an MTSU senior. “I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do anything on campus lately except for going to class. But, I saw the tables set up and decided to come see what it was all about. I’m glad I did.”

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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1 Comment

  1. Hannah
    April 27, 2018

    Wednesday on MTSU’s campus, I walked by the Student Union Building and saw a lot of booths and activities happening. After reading this article, I am very pleased to see students coming together to take pressure away from finals week. The community at MTSU is at its highest level of comfort whenever students put their heads together for a cause — even if the cause is fighting finals. The De–Stress Fest is a great way to relax and focus on things that are not related to testing. Having dogs to pet and rocks to paint are two of my favorite down time activities, so I know this brought happiness to other students. The sleeping mask idea was also brilliant because what do college students need more than sleep? (Other than money, of course) Also, with Battle Ball, the students who need to let off some steam and competitive nature can join in and take their minds off school. I hope to see this De–Stress Fest happen every year. It is a great way to bring community and spread positivity to everyone who needs it. Maybe next year the De–Stress Fest can incorporate kittens in addition to the doggies. Sending love to all the test takers.
    Hannah Field, sophmore