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March 22, 2013
The Stress Less Fest at Northwest Missouri State University has been awarded the Best Practices in College Health Award by the American College Health Association (ACHA).
The award recognizes exemplary, innovative, and inspirational practices in one of four major areas of college health: clinical services, counseling services, administrative and consumer services, and health education and promotion services.
Bearcat Peer Education, Project Hope and University Wellness Services collaborate to host Stress Less Fest each trimester on the Monday evening of finals week. The goal of the program is to provide a place where students can relieve stress that builds as they prepare for final exams.
Peer Education hosted the first Stress Less Fest in December 2011 and has continued it each trimester, including a welcome-back event for Northwest students in September.
“While attending Northwest as a graduate student, I often feel myself and other students getting overly stressed, especially when the finals period rolls around,” Northwest Peer Educator Chris Triplett said. “Our December event brought in over 200 students to enjoy a wide array of stress-free events, even if only for a brief moment, and get their minds off of their exams.”
Students who attend Stress Less Fest receive raffle tickets for prizes as well as Finals Survival Kits from Northwest’s Student Senate. During the event, students have access to Zumba, yoga, massages, marshmallow dodge ball games and movies. Students also can participate in an array of creative activities such as coloring, finger painting, stress ball making, Lego building and card making.
One of the rooms includes food and information tables with giveaways related to topics such as safe driving, the importance of sleep, stress reduction and suicide prevention programming. Students received free T-shirts after taking an alcohol or marijuana assessment or completing suicide prevention training.
“The program is very broad and diverse in terms of offerings,” said Dr. Jerry Wilmes, director of Northwest Wellness Services. “It includes physical activities to help students ‘burn off’ stress, as well as more quiet, creative, reflective activities. The program also provides opportunities for students to simply ‘turn off’ for a while. Finally, education is incorporated into the wide variety of activities to help students not just manage stress better during finals, but throughout their college careers and the rest of their lives.”
Northwest’s spring Stress Less Fest is scheduled for 6 to 11 p.m. Monday, April 29, at The Station.
Founded in 1920, ACHA is a national nonprofit association that represents the interests of college health professionals and the campus communities they serve. As the nation’s principal advocate and leadership organization for college and university health, it represents a diverse membership that provides and supports the delivery of health care, prevention and wellness services for the nation’s 17 million college students.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468