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By Eric Weld   Date: 12/15/08

Welcome to the Stress Free Zone

It happens every year at this time. Classrooms become exam spaces, student traffic thins out on campus and the Campus Center turns into a massive study hall.

Except for in Campus Center room 102. That’s the Stress Free Zone.

Students take a break from studying with snacks from the Campus Center Courtesy Cart.

It’s not that people with stress are not allowed to enter (that would kill business during exam period). Rather, it means that room 102 is set aside as a sanctuary from stress. From December 12 through 19 this year, room 102 is restricted 24 hours a day to relaxing and leaving the pressure of exams at the door.

“Students are not allowed to study in it,” says Patrick Connelly, assistant director of student activities at the Campus Center, of the Stress Free Zone. “Instead, it is set up as a space to take a break. It’s a great opportunity for students to take a minute out of their end-of-the-semester push and relax and recharge.”

Tables in the room offer crayons, puzzles and games, all to provide temporary distraction from studies. Snacks, such as coffee, hot chocolate and granola bars are there free for the taking.

Also, as part of the exam period Stress Free Zone, on Monday, Dec. 15, the Campus Center invites musician Sarah Donner to give a performance at 9 p.m. in the Carroll Room. And on Tuesday, Dec. 16, free 15-minute massages are offered in the atrium.

The Stress Free Zone is an important escape for students, says Connelly, because the rest of the Campus Center becomes “one big study space. It’s not uncommon to see students camped out for days at a time getting work done. Students have their own favorite places to study in the building, the café, Goldstein Lounge, meeting rooms.”

To accommodate that, the Campus Center staff set up the Carroll Room with tables for studying and group work, says Connelly.

And every night in the small hours during the reading period and final exams, the Campus Center sends a “courtesy cart” around the building stocked with fresh fruit, snacks and cookies, as well as pencils and highlighters.

“Our staff walks through the building encouraging students to take a quick break, stretch and have a snack,” says Connelly. “We encourage students to take care of themselves and each other during the stress of exams.”

And whenever the pressure gets to be too much, there’s the Stress Free Zone—leave your troubles outside.



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