LTTE: CSU campus needs more reflection spaces

Guest Author

Graphic illustration depicting a letter on a coffee table that reads "Letter to the Editor" surrounded by a coffee cup, pencil and loose papers.
(Graphic Illustration by Christine Moore-Bonbright | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.

As a young adult traversing college, the thought of taking a moment to breathe seems irresistible yet impossible. With heavy workloads, financial hardships and enticing social outings, saving time to replenish mental capacities ranks low on the list of things to do for most college students. It is even more difficult when resources are limited or not easily accessible.

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Colorado State University currently offers reflection rooms in four buildings across campus: the Lory Student Center, the CSU Health and Medical Center, the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building and the Morgan Library. These rooms are intended for prayer, reflection or meditation but should be expanded upon to include materials for students to partake in other mindful activities, and they should be introduced into more buildings on campus.

Colorado State University students, like most university students, are subject to stress during their time here. Common coping mechanisms reported by college students include drinking, consumption of unhealthy foods, lower physical activity and use of tobacco products. Although these coping mechanisms are not all inherently bad, they do not always indicate a healthy lifestyle.

Even if CSU is unable to offer intervention sessions, there is an opportunity to make use of space available on campus for individual growth.”

Finding a way to disengage with unhealthy life choices or risky behaviors in order to cope with stress or anxiety in a productive way could lead the student body to be more academically successful. In a previous survey, researchers found that 15.6% of undergraduates were likely to have depression or anxiety disorders. CSU students are just as susceptible to these statistics as other college students across the country and therefore require adequate resources promoting healthy mental and physical behaviors.

Not only could these spaces improve the mental well-being of students but also their physical health. Recurring stress in the human body has shown to have effects on physical health, such as cardiovascular problems. Additional spaces around campus would provide an excellent way for the university to promote healthy lifestyles.

For example, a 2009 study on the implementation of yoga, humor and reading to reduce acute stress in college students improved the well-being for students involved in these intervention groups. Even if CSU is unable to offer intervention sessions, there is an opportunity to make use of space available on campus for more calm reflection. The use of a reflection and meditation app at Arizona State University showed decreases in stress and increased mindfulness and self-compassion.

The addition to the Warner College of Natural Resources
The new addition to the Warner College of Natural Resources has classrooms, study spaces, a balcony, and adds new life to the old building just off the plaza. (Joe Oakman | The Collegian)

I have had great results in simply following breathing activities in a quiet place to reduce stress during a busy day on campus. Increasing available spaces for students to unwind and reflect during a hectic day on campus could have the same effect other universities have seen in their efforts to decrease stress and anxiety for their students.

Understanding that simply suggesting CSU provide more reflection areas to better the well-being of students does not take into consideration the financial burden of the matter. The cost of implementing more intervention groups or hiring counselors can come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Fortunately, dedicating space to more reflection rooms around campus and allowing students to choose for themselves what the best outlet is to reflect through is much more sustainable regarding cleaning measures, and it’s cost-effective in providing minimal outside resources that the University doesn’t already have access to.

The opportunity CSU could have in providing students with ample resources for reflection, meditation, yoga, prayer, etc. would positively impact the student body, decreasing anxiety and unhealthy coping mechanisms for the stress that comes along with being a college student in today’s world.

Hailey Simpson
Colorado State University student
Livestock Behavior and Welfare

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