Every year, Binghamton University’s Dean of Students Office coordinates De-Stress December, a campuswide initiative aimed at providing stress-reducing activities for students as they prepare for exams and make their way through finals.
This December, the events will run from Nov. 27 through Dec. 13. The initiative will feature long-running traditions, such as Residential Life’s “Pet-a-Pooch,” an event that gives students the opportunity to play with dogs on the Spine, and “Cram Jam,” a food-filled event held in the College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall. It will also introduce new events, including “Zen Den,” where students will be able to relax on beanbag chairs, listen to meditation music and receive small samples of essential oils, and “Chillin’ at the Union,” an event that offers a variety of activities and free food.
To organize the initiative, the Dean of Students Office invites departments, offices and student groups to send in events to be added to the finals schedule. All of the events must aim to provide stress relief or studying opportunities for students. Cindy Blackman, assistant director of marketing for the Dean of Students Office and Residential Life, wrote in an email that it takes about a month to plan programming.
“Offices and organizations sent in their events fitting the time frame and the theme of de-stress and they were added to the calendar,” Blackman wrote.
In continuing the University’s B-Healthy initiative, healthy snacks will be provided throughout De-Stress December by BU Dining Services and the Student Culinary Council, both at daily giveaways and at various events.
The University is providing several accommodations for students as well, including extended hours for resident and retail dining leading up to finals. University Libraries will also have extended hours for studying, with Glenn G. Bartle Library open 24 hours until Dec. 14, and will provide additional group study rooms, which tend to get packed around the end of the semester.
Ariela Frenkel, a senior majoring in business administration, said she thinks De-Stress December is helpful in providing study breaks for students, and that the initiative makes finals more endurable for her.
“I always try to go to a few of the events in between my studying,” Frenkel said. “Being able to get a massage right after taking a final is definitely my favorite part of the De-Stress December.”
Some events also focus on helping students learn how to handle stress and studying, such as de-stress tips sessions, where attendees are given water, granola bars, bananas, tea and hot cocoa and get pointers on how to reduce stress during finals season. According to Dasha Kofman, a senior majoring in English, De-Stress December taught her how to handle her stress better.
“Every year, I go to the events focused on de-stress tips,” Kofman said. “The guidance and resources given is something every student should take advantage of. It really helped me manage my time and anxiety during finals better.”