For the last three years Quinsigamond Community College has been offering a Winter Wellness Workshop designed to relieve stress from the semester and help students prepare for their final exams. These wellness workshops have been in place for six years and are offered twice a year at the end of each semester.
Activities at these events are designed to help students de-stress. Stress-free activities include anything from massage, reiki, arts and crafts, coloring, Zumba and yoga, to bringing in service animals through the organization, Paws for People. The Paws for People program, affiliated with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, is always one of the hits of this biannual event.
On Nov. 29, the organization once again came to the college’s main campus to kick off the two-day event with a few dogs and one cat that offered students a chance to pet the animals and just relax. The animals have been proven stress reducers for the students.
“Students who you haven’t seen on campus will come right in when they see the animals,” said Mike Beane, Director of Student Life and Leadership.
“It’s good for the students to hang out with each other and pet the animals,” said Kristie Proctor, Director of Disability Services, adding that the handlers also engage with the students talking to them about their classes and interacting with them.
Ms. Proctor was the impetus behind bringing the service animals to QCC.
“What inspired me was that I’m a big animal lover. I said we have got to bring these animals to campus and then everyone jumped onboard,” she said.
In addition to the Worcester campus event, a stress-free wellness event also happened at QCC’s Southbridge location. Tami Strouth, Coordinator of Disability Services in Southborough brought in a cat organization for students to visit with cats and kittens, in addition to offering a mindfulness session, coloring and massage.
Other events scheduled during the two-day event on QCC's main Worcester campus (Nov. 29 & Nov. 30) included mindfulness, coloring, massage and a sounds therapy session led by faculty member Jean Kennedy. In a sounds therapy session the tonalities and vibrations emitted from the bowl are used to help reduce stress and can aid in pain management.
Ms. Proctor said that QCC is extremely supportive of the student experience and offers activities that will get students to interact more and feel part of the community.
Ms. Proctor said that events such as these, “support student success as we move forward toward final exams.”