Organizations join together to make WCU a “Stress-Free Whee”

As the semester winds down, several campus organizations are teamed up to help Western Carolina students relax.

Campus Recreation and Wellness, The Technology Commons and Dining Services have collaborated to put on events focusing on getting students’ minds off of the impending exam week, including putting on the Stress-Free Whee. The gathering in the University Commons on Dec. 9, focused on stirring up some nostalgic Christmas memories, complete with cookie decorating and coloring.

Event coordinators, Laura DiNunzio of the Technology Commons and Mandy Dockendorf of Campus Recreation and Wellness. Photo by Austin McDowell

“We believe these kinds of activities help students get unplugged and forget about exams for a little while,” said Laura DiNunzio, the manager at Technology Commons. “It helps that it’s so low-key in terms of coordinating.”

“I think childhood memories helps people relax because you can bring it back, even if it’s only for an hour or two,” said Mandy Dockendorf, the Assistant Director for Campus Health and Wellness. “Having help from the Counseling Center and Dining Services is a plus as well.”

This is only the second year that the organizations have collaborated despite doing separate Christmas events in previous years.

“Putting our efforts together makes a lot more sense and helps with attendance,” said DiNunzio.

Students agree that the event is effective in helping nurse the woes of a stressful semester.

“I’m able to take a moment to myself and not think about anything other than this,” said Samantha Haycraft, a freshman double-majoring in marketing and management. “I’ve had a lot to do in the last week so this is a nice break.”
For the nursing freshman, Madison Adams  it is a good time to relax.

Customized cookies were a big selling point for a Stress-Free Whee. Photo by Austin McDowell

“Events like this give you a great way to express yourself,” said Adams, after putting on the finishing touches of a Christmas tree cookie. “There’s been a lot of studying in the last week and this is a great distraction.”

Part of the event’s agenda was to help fill out the new BINGO card, another collaborative program that encourages students to participate in activities to promote health and wellness towards the end of the semester.

“Even though we haven’t had a lot of people turn in the cards they are still doing their job,” said Dockendorf. “The cards are more to spread awareness than anything else.”

The cards, which were handed out in mid-November, have been effective in spreading the word thus far.

“Some of the cards we put in IT helped students know we were open 24 hours during exam week,” added DiNunzio. “Bad situations happen at the least convenient times and we want students to know that IT and Rec and Wellness are there to help.

Both the event coordinators agreed that the BINGO cards were a great idea and that, with a little bit more awareness, they could be a big hit next semester.