By Liz Spano and Brittany Brand
Students will have the opportunity to soak their professors in a dunk tank, jump on inflatable rides or throw themselves against a Velcro wall during “Unstress Day” on Friday, which will wrap up the 2009 Wellness Week.
Unstress Day was designed by the Counseling Center to provide fun and engaging activities for students in association with Wellness Week events and activities.
“We really wanted to end the week with something that [allows students to] kind of rest, relax and enjoy a positive way to have fun,” said Steve Rowlands, director of the Counseling Center.
As part of the event, students can climb a rock wall, run an obstacle course or listen to Optimus Prime and the Autobots perform on the Nelson Hall patio. Also, a Breast Cancer Walk will begin Thursday during Chapel. Students can receive two Chapel credits for participating.
Wellness Week was created for ACU students and employees to promote health in their lives, challenging their knowledge of wellness and providing information to inform a healthy lifestyle. It will take place Oct. 6-9.
“Wellness Week was established 10 years ago by the Counseling Center as an outreach for students and employees about spiritual, emotional, physical and relational wellness,” said Helen Marshall, Wellness Week coordinator.
Rowland said October is a time when the stress and expectations of college life begin to have an effect on students.Â Midterm grades, tests, homesickness and pledging are all stressors at this time, and Rowland said Wellness Week is a way to provide encouragement to students.
The theme of Wellness Week is Victory of Wellness, or VOW. The Peer Health Educators will lead a small group Chapel for those who chose to make a commitment on Thursday in the Campus Center Living Room. The theme is based on the work of Dr. Dickie Hill, professor of exercise science and health.
Dr. Ellen Little, medical director for the clinic, will begin the week by speaking about “When God is Absent” in Chapel on Monday. Booths addressing issues from depression to healthy relationships will be set up in the Campus Center on Tuesday, and students from the Abilene School of Massage Therapy will also offer free massages in the Living Room.
These activities will allow students to become aware of stress-management techniques and healthy lifestyles in an engaging way, said Ben Martinez, junior accounting major from Abilene.
“The activities during Wellness Week give students the opportunity to take a break from class work and just have fun,” Martinez said.
Jackie Brunk, senior graphic design major from Jackson, Wyo., said she practices several methods of combating stress during the semester.
“I start every morning with a quiet time; not only for the whole religious part of it – it gives me time to plan and think of what I have to do that day,” Brunk said.
Rowlands encourages similar techniques for stress management, including exercise and avoiding overcommitment.
“There are a lot of pressures on college students – and a lot of pressure to succeed and do well and be somebody,” Rowlands said. “One of the things I would love to encourage people to do is love themselves; be OK with who you are and who you are becoming.”