Featuring de-stress dogs, massage therapy and newly-added Nintendo Switch games, there were options for all
Annalisse Crosswell, Associate News Editor
Photo Courtesy of Mikko San Ramon
De-stress dogs and massage therapy sessions are making their return to Capilano University for the semi-annual De-Stress Week, presented by the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU), from Nov. 26-29. Spearheading the De-Stress Series week for his first time is Mikko San Ramon, recreation, intramurals and wellness coordinator, who has also brought in a new addition to the lineup of events – the Nintendo Switch, which was approved mid-semester.
The gaming console, which was used earlier in the semester to facilitate events during Mental Health Awareness Month, included games such as Mario Party, Mario Kart and Mario Tennis, as well as Rock Band. Being a one-time purchase, the console and games allow the CSU to provide for small events to encourage engagement among students without a huge amount of planning and cost. “It’s easy for people to get involved without [CSU staff] having to worry about logistics so much,” said San Ramon. Rock Band allows this at virtually no cost to the University, as it was donated by a staff member.
“I think it’s really important for students to be reminded to take care of themselves and sometimes that’s getting a massage,” said President and Vice-President Equity and sustainability Anna Rempel, who was also involved in planning the De-Stress Series. “Sometimes that’s playing with a dog or playing video games with your friends, but sometimes that’s also remembering to sleep [or] remembering to eat.”
De-Stress Week events are usually organized by CSU Accessibility Justice Coordinator Andrew Dillman, but the board of directors decided that planning fit better into San Ramon’s role. This semester, Dillman was involved to a lesser degree, initiating the conversation about De-Stress Week and helping to organize dog therapy and massage therapy. De-Stress Week falls under Rempel’s mental health mandate, so she would also usually be more involved. However, this year Rempel is travelling to Ottawa for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA)’s Advocacy Week, resulting in a lesser involvement in planning. However, while in Ottawa she will be trained for the upcoming mental health campaign run by the CSU.
Final exams and the last push towards the end of the semester can be a stressful time of year for students, and the goal of De-Stress Week is to allow a moment’s reprieve from worrying about assignments and exams coming to a head. “Everyone has a different perspective and a different way of receiving stress…and so we can’t make an assumption that there is only one level of that,” said San Ramon, “So, with that being said, we offer De-Stress Week so that everyone, regardless of [the] level of stress of they’ve got, can be involved in participating in that.”
Both San Ramon and Rempel have plans for how De-Stress Week could be developed further next semester and in the years to come. With Rempel’s less-direct involvement in the event and concerns that students too easily forget self-care, she thinks some things could be extended to the rest of the academic year, including workshops, talks and resources that could be shared with students that focus on maintaining a work-life balance.
San Ramon indicated that unlike other on-campus events, turn out for De-Stress Week is not a huge concern because students already have a history of being very engaged with activities offered during the semester. His goal with De-Stress Week waiss simply to give members of the CapU community a chance to relax during this busy time of the year. “Honestly, whatever distraction we can give them is a win,” San Ramon said, adding his hope that students would not become too distracted from their schoolwork because of these events.