Mindfulness club uses Discord to create safe space for students

Paula Rodenas, Staff Writer

The City College Mindfulness Club creates a safe place that helps students express their feelings and feel welcome.

“We do daily meditations, we have fun club meetings and usually we talk a lot about expressing our feelings,” club President Nick Hernandez said.

Ashylnn Pyae, the other club president, said that they pick weekly topics to post videos, or “TED Talks,” for the students to watch. It is up to them to watch them or not.

She described it as if it were homework.

“In the meeting we talk about the topic and what we think about it,” Pyae said. Then, they connect it to their lives and talk about personal experiences in relation with the weekly topic.

There are over 100 members in the club, with a few that are constantly active, Hernandez said. The number of members has increased since the pandemic started.

He said that so far this group has been “very successful.”

Hernandez and Pyae are both club veterans. Hernandez is a first year student who joined as soon as he arrived at City College. Pyae is in her last semester and has been part of the club since before the pandemic.

Hernandez gets inspiration for weekly topics from his classes. He analyzes what they talk about and comes up with ideas to discuss in the club meetings.

The club is run through Discord, a software that allows users to send text messages, videocall, share screen and play music.

Although they only meet once a week, the chat channel is always open for students to talk and communicate with other members.

Pyae said there are a few active members that talk about how their day is going and how they are feeling, while others constantly text in the text channel.

Discord also has the option of using a bot feature to play music for all members at the same time. 

They use the bot to run 10 minute meditation sessions every day at noon, directed by Hernandez. He has been interested in meditation since his junior year of high school.

Students are able to leave their camera on or turn it off while listening to the meditation soundtrack. Some days they share how they feel afterwards.

The club was created around 2018 by a group of current City College graduates, but it was called the Well Club.

Pyae said that people would confuse the Well Club with the Wellness Center. Hernandez decided to “give it a big makeover” and change it to the Mindfulness Club. 

Managing school work, a social life and club work can be stressful sometimes, but Hernandez always has energy and enthusiasm for the club.

“My mind is always full of ideas,” he said.