For many, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of daily life, but it isn’t always easy to find a place to relieve that stress. It was this need that drove UW-Whitewater staff and Whitewater residents to create a few extra programs both on campus and in town to help alleviate stress.
For staff at UW-Whitewater, this meant creating the Campus Reflection Space in 2014.
The space, which was founded by members of the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) program and University Center staff, was made to help those students looking for a special place on campus to focus on themselves and their mental health.
“It was created for the entire campus community to have a place to go to for a time of relaxation, meditation, prayer or just to sit and reflect,” said Rhonda Jones, the program associate for the University Center. “It was not meant for a place for students to study or to have lunch.”
Even though it has only been five years since the creation of the space, co-creator and Associate Director for the University Center Kim Adams has begun to recieve positive feedback from students.
“I’ve noticed appreciation from students who have written comments in the guest book,” said Adams. “I’ve noticed gratitude along the way for the campus dedicating a space for that as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff.”
On top of the on-campus space, students can also choose to take a step outside of the UW-Whitewater community and sit in on a session of the Mindfulness Meditation Group held at the United Church of Christ in downtown Whitewater.
This secular group, like the reflection space, has one simple goal: to bring a sort of mental peace to its members.
“The purpose of the group is to come together with others to practice mindfulness meditation,” said Lori Frison. “Group meditation is like attending a group exercise class in that we usually go a little further when we are with others than we would if we were on our own.”
The idea of being completely mentally present is something that Frison truly believes in.
“Mindfulness meditation is not based on any religious perspective,” said Frison. “Rather, it is about developing awareness, a mental process or capacity that we all have.”
The Mindfulness Meditation Group meets every Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. People of all age groups are welcome to join.