As part of the kick-out stress series, Peer Health Educators (PHE) volunteers gave out free hugs across campus last Thursday.
The group wanted to help students de-stress after the first week back from spring break.
PHE participants included, Kelsey Merz, sociology senior, Erica Neuman, sociology junior and Kara Daniels, nursing junior.
With free-hug signs, decorated and St. Patrick’s Day-themed, they hoped to help distress students and keep them in good humor.
PHE members visited busy areas hoping to give out more hugs. The group visited Starbucks, the Student Association office and the Courtyard.
“It is not just the actual physical hugging,” said Sara Martinez, health and wellness educator.
They hoped to get people interested in the de-stress series and pass their good mood around to other students.
“We do a lot of pilot programs to see how they will go for the first time,” Martinez said.
PHE hoped to give away 200 hugs.
The PHE women volunteers gave hugs to both students and faculty. In less than an hour, the participants gave out over 50 hugs and more than 100 smiles.
“It’s not just the people who are participating in the event,” Martinez said, “but also the people watching.”
Martinez said spectators also got at least a smile out of watching the group giving out hugs.
“You have that instant laugh and feel good feeling even if you don’t take the hug,” said Raveyon King-Pearson, member of PHE and Throw-Down Thursday event coordinator.
“The purpose of the de-stress series is to help students most of all,” King-Pearson said.
King-Pearson said she hoped that since they were bringing the event to students rather then holding an event for students to attend, they would have more participants.
“We are a close-knit school, and everyone is open and willing to try new things,” King-Pearson said.
She wants students to think of hugging as a de-stressing tool that students can always use.
She said students need to be able to laugh.
“It is nice to see that everyone is willing to help out and be involved,” King-Pearson said.
Becky Learman, education senior, was one student who participated in the event.
“Having a free hug helped me de-stress from post-spring break exams,” she said.
PHE members gave Learman a hug after she finished making posters for her RSO. She said it made her smile more than anything.
Throw-Down Thursday is a part of PHE de-stress event series, where previous events include Wind-down Wednesday and Tune-down Tuesday.
A scream-fest, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, will be the next event in the kick-out stress series. Students will be invited and asked to scream as loud as they can in the Courtyard.
“When you get to the end of the day,” King-Pearson said, “you have to be your own motivator as a college student.”