Feeling tense before finals? Come to De-Stress Fest 2014

Anthropology Museum Says RELAXFeeling the pressure of upcoming finals? You might just want to take a break at the NIU Anthropology Museum, which will be transformed into a “no-stress zone” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 30.

The day’s events at the museum, organized entirely by students for students, is being dubbed “De-Stress Fest 2014.”

Relaxation stations will be located inside the museum and throughout busy Cole Hall. Students can sip a cup of calming tea, play board games, participate in art activities, get free massages and enjoy yoga, guided meditation, gardening lessons and Japanese Reiki.

De-Stress Fest is designed to give students a place to relax in Cole Hall while experiencing how cultures around the world manage stress. The program was organized by the Anthropology Museum Student Advisory Board, a group of students whose mission is to increase student awareness and engagement with the museum.

“The day’s schedule of free activities was designed to give students a break from studying for finals,” says Student Advisory Board President Sara Fitzpatrick. “Even if you only have 15 minutes between classes, you can still build a Lego sculpture, get a quick massage, try a new kind of tea or play a game. We hope students will use what they learn to stay calm during finals week.”

Art, tea, game and Lego-building stations will be offered throughout the day. Free yoga will be offered  from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and noon to 12:30 p.m. Guided meditation will be held from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. and from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m.

Photo of a massageStudent Advisory Board members gained real-world museum experience by identifying local businesses and approaching them to be program partners. Partners include Duck Soup Coop, The Gaming Goat, NIU Communiversity Gardens, NIU Health Enhancement, Sycamore Integrated Health, Sycamore Meditation, Wise Owl Wellness and Yoga by Danielle Hill.

Organized in 2013, the Museum Student Advisory Board serves to boost campus awareness of the Anthropology Museum. Its members work closely with museum staff on outreach and publicity and completed more than 100 surveys of NIU students this winter to better understand how the museum can be more relevant to their lives.

“The Anthropology Museum celebrates cultural diversity in everything it does, from preserving rare and wonderful objects from cultures around the world to curating exhibits for visitors and teaching students with hands-on experiences,” says museum Director Jennifer Kirker Priest.

“Since educational exhibits don’t necessarily bring students into the museum by themselves, the Student Advisory Board helps to envision bold new ways the museum can reach out to NIU students as a place where they can come to learn about things like how activist anthropology can empower local communities from Haiti to the Philippines. It’s also a place where they can come for free, fun programs.”

Students interested in applying to become a member of the 2014-2015 Anthropology Museum Student Advisory Board can contact Museum Curator Laura McDowell Hopper at lmcdowellhopper@niu.edu.

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