Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor Patti Dowd, program coordinator of Wellness Services and Group Exercise, leads a lunchtime meditation and Qigong session outside of the East Gym on Monday. Qigong is the ancient Chinese practice of aligning breath, movement and awareness in order to cultivate and balance chi, or “intrinsic life energy.”

As finals week approaches and stress levels rise, students will need a way to cope.

The Dean of Students Office is leading a coordinated effort in conjunction with other campus organizations to provide students with stress-relieving programs every day until finals are over.

According to Dean of Students April Thompson, the academically rigorous environment at Binghamton University makes finals week all the more stressful for students.

“I came here from Dartmouth College, and I find that students are just as serious about their classes and their academics here as they were even at an Ivy League school,” she said. “Classes are tough, and I think students appreciate the challenge and want to do well.”

According to Thompson, the week of activities is an effort to keep students from resorting to more drastic measures, like chugging coffee and taking Adderall, a dangerous combination when paired with celebratory post-exam drinks.

Randi Scheiner, a psychologist in the Counseling Center, cautioned students against using prescription drugs to help with tests because the quick boost they give while studying will eventually wear off, leaving students even more exhausted when it comes time to take the actual test.

“The body doesn’t have an unlimited supply of energy, so things like Adderall and caffeine abuse assume that the body has an unlimited supply and the Adderall and caffeine are giving extra, but they’re not,” Scheiner said. “They’re giving a boost, but the body needs time to recover.”

Among the list of events this week are free fitness classes at the East Gym that do not require gym membership for entry.

Cindy Cowden, the associate director of Campus Recreational Services, said that physical activity is one of the best ways to combat the toll that stress takes on the body.

“There’s a number of physiological functions happening in your body under stress that physical activity — whether it’s a cardio class or relaxation — can help alleviate,” she said. “Once you’ve increased blood pressure, you can refocus and approach your work with a better focus … We all do better when we have a chance to stretch and breathe.”

Less physically minded students can also find ways to relieve stress for free during exam week. LateNite Binghamton has played a large part in organizing events for the week. Chrissy Quattro, the graduate programming coordinator for LateNite, assembled a list at the very beginning of the year of all the programs that students told her they wanted for the year, including stress relief events for the end of the semester, such as a room for napping, therapy dogs, piñatas and food.

“A lot of people don’t have time to go out and grab food, we just wanted to make it more convenient for people so it’s one less thing to stress about,” said Quattro, a first-year graduate student studying affairs administration. “We’re kind of centrally located.”

Keren Orr, an undeclared freshman, attended a splatter painting event sponsored by Residential Life Thursday. She said she appreciated the opportunity to take her mind off of work.

“I went with two good friends and we got our hands dirty making cute dorm decorations, and it definitely took our minds off the huge piles of work and tests we have these next few weeks,”she said. “I’m definitely worried about my finals and papers, and the painting was pretty fun and relaxing.”

REACH (Real Education About College Health), ResLife, LateNite, Campus Recreation and the University Police Department (UPD) all worked with the Dean of Students Office to organize the week of events.

The Counseling Center will have extended crisis hours from now until finals. Students struggling with finals pressure can walk in from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of the usual 2-4 p.m. hours.