The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Destress Fest, Dog Therapy Day preps students for finals week

Nursing Major Skylar Libre plays with Ellie, a yellow Labrador Retriever at the ‘De-stress Fest’ on Wednesday, May 3, in front of the Luria Library. Ellie is a therapy dog and was brought to the City College by All For Animals. According to their website, 5 minutes of petting a therapy dog can reduce stress levels.

The bubbly atmosphere of the West Campus lawn ignited smiles and laughter with “Destress Fest” and “Dog Therapy” in honor of finals preparation.

Wellness Connection and Luria Library hosted the events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to encourage students to calm their nerves with activities, massages and dogs.

“I was waiting for this event for weeks,” City College student Re’em Landsman said. “I always want to be a part of this, especially during finals week.”   

The Connection included many clubs and departments in the event to fill the West Campus walkway. The event caught the attention of students walking by to encourage stress-relief and mental health.

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The art club held a finger-painting table covered in colorful artwork, yoga club laid mats for any students looking to get their stretch on and the cosmetology department’s tent bustled with students getting hand massages from the department’s practicing students.

“It’s been a phenomenal day since my students are getting great experience while we are bridging the gap [between] the department and the rest of City College,” cosmetology department co-chair Michelle Puailoa said. “I would love to do this more often.”

Pacific Pride supplied free HPV and Hepatitis C testing, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services and Transfer Academy attended for extra counseling and support and Student Equity Committee provided free burritos to students.  

“I feel so happy and just wish I could hang out with the dogs all day,” City College student Brittany Ward said.

Library Director Elizabeth Bowman worked with All for Animals to bring about a dozen therapy dogs as well as her own dog to chill out with students in front of the library.  

Students walked by and gasped with excitement as they saw the wagging tails and crowds of people around each dog.

“I’m so touched that ARF! wants to volunteer and bringing in teams from outside the community is wonderful,” Bowman said. “People get sad and miss their dogs and always want more of this.”   

Many students and staff said that their favorite part of the day was seeing students’ faces light up when they walked through Destress Fest. For many students, it was the perfect location, as they walked out of the library from studying to find a playground of stress-relief to indulge in.

“I have so many students tell me that this is exactly what they needed. It’s a nice little break,” said Isabel Carrillo, student worker for the Connection.

Students kicked giant blowup balls, flew kites, played ladderball and cornhole and ran around the lawn behind the tents.

The Connection had a giant bubble-blowing station that attracted much attention to the event, a napping tent with blankets and pillows and a lavender-pouch making table next to a basket of bubblewrap squares with hotline numbers for stress relief.  

Roxane Pate, Wellness Connection student program adviser and director, said her favorite part was the nap tent and was surprised how many students needed it. Pate said she is considering having the nap tent become a more common setup in the future throughout the semester.

“Our goal was to create an adult recess to relax, play and reenergize,” Pate said. “It went super good and next year we plan to focus on self-care especially.”

Correction: May 4, 2017
The Channels has updated this story.

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