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by April Bayer


The Student Life Office and the Community Building Committee (CBC) worked together to host art, music and pet therapy events during Dead Week as an opportunity for students to relax and relieve stress before finals.

Pet therapy began over four years ago, but Director of Student Development Rehema Kavugha said that the CBC helped add music and art therapy to the events calendar last year as an effort to organize therapy activities that addressed more student interests.

“(Therapy) is a nice break away from normal, everyday…classes,” said junior Carly Bueltmann, co-chair of the CBC. “Personally, it helps my stress levels go down.”

Kavugha encouraged students to take a break from studying and to attend the events, as the activities can give them a chance to relax by using the more creative side of their brains or ease stress by releasing endorphins.

“We know how important your academics are, but we also know that part of being successful academically is having an outlet,” Kavugha said. “Sometimes what happens is that students get so focused on studying (that)…they’ve kind of worn their body out. We want to equip (students)…to be as successful as they can during finals.”

The week began with music therapy at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The event featured performances by student bands and soloists in addition to open mic. Students could sit and listen while studying or working on homework.

“It’s an opportunity for students to showcase their talents…We have so many students with so many different gifts, and music is definitely an outlet for people on our campus,” Kavugha said.

The events continued with art therapy from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Students had access to a variety of art supplies, including paint, Play-Doh, shaving cream, puzzles, paper and various drawing and coloring utensils.

“You don’t need to like art in order to participate in art therapy. You can go and just…goof around,” sophomore Sierra Jacob said. “For example, my roommate and I had…some fun with the shaving cream (last year).”

The activities ended with pet therapy on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 2-4 p.m. Faculty, staff and community members were contacted and encouraged to bring their pets to the campus so students could spend some time interacting and playing with them.

Most of the animals brought to pet therapy were dogs, but the event has also featured some unique animals in the past, including snakes and leopard geckos from the biology department.

“Our students (can) connect with different faculty and staff members through their animals,” Kavugha said. “Usually the biggest comment that I hear when students are playing with the dogs is that it reminds them of their own pets, and so it gives them a feeling of home.”

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