By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Students’ health seems to have taken a back seat this year to, among other things, Homecoming.
An unfortunate coincidence has now robbed students of Unstress Day and the most necessary time for fall break, leaving many clinging to their last grains of sanity as Homecoming plows into the university’s students, faculty and staff, who have had 35 days of school with no extra break.
Fall break this year will land on Oct. 31, an occurrence brought about by Homecoming.
Although now used as a post-Homecoming break, the original purpose of the mini-vacation was to provide an early-October relief for students, whose physical and mental health begins to sag around that time.
With input from the Counseling Center and others, the university agreed to a three-day weekend in the first part of October-before Homecoming.
Now, however, it appears the minority is dictating to the majority when they shall get their break. As reported Friday in the Optimist, fall break is determined by Homecoming which is in turn determined by the football team’s schedule.
So the schedule of a team with about 80 members determines when 4,500 students may rest.
Likewise, the reasoning that students who work on Homecoming need the break the next weekend lies on the premise that the majority of students directly works on Homecoming (it doesn’t) or is intimately involved with Homecoming activities (it isn’t), and that those who do work tirelessly on the event don’t sleep until seven days later (they do, usually on Sunday).
Indeed, a break before Homecoming would provide an opportunity for those relatively few students (several hundred workers out of several thousand enrolled) who work on the event to rest up for the proverbial home stretch.
When and how fall break was hijacked into being a mostly irrelevant weekend just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving is not important. Reclaiming it for the health and wellbeing of the student body would be a wise move for next year.
Likewise, Wellness Week this year seemed to slip by mostly unnoticed. Rather than a week’s worth of Chapel speakers, the week was pre-empted by Shades and The Group. The only Chapel speech tied into Wellness Week this year was on Thursday-small-group day.
For the second year in a row, Unstress Day was canceled, an unfortunate irony in that the week is scheduled during an inclement time of year, but it’s the weather that creates the need for Wellness Week.
Next year, Wellness Week and fall break should coincide, with the week focusing on health Monday through Wednesday, with Unstress Day Thursday afternoon leading right into fall break-all done in the second week of October, where fall break should be.
A week devoted to students’ health capped by the weekend created for the same purpose would boost Wellness Week’s campus profile and keep fall break from being used and abused by Homecoming.