Meditation mob ‘chills well’ in front of Mountainlair
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 08:10
Amid a hectic class change on West Virginia University’s Downtown campus, a group of students gathered in front of the Mountainlair Thursday for 15 minutes of solitude.
As part of WELLWVU: The Students’ Center of Health’s chillWELL campaign, students came together for a unique surprise: a meditation mob.
"I have no idea what’s going on," said junior education student Kati Baker. "It looks like they’re meditating to relax or calm themselves, and I think that’s awesome. I am 100 percent behind this."
Senior public relations student Anthony Danko, developer of the meditation mob, sat with his mat first.
Little by little, students joined Danko until approximately 30 others were meditating in front of the Mountainlair.
"I heard some people heckling it at first, but backlash is always expected," Danko said. "Once everything calmed down and they realized what we were doing, I heard a lot of support, though, so hopefully it kind of triggered something in those students to find that peace within their lives, as well."
Director of the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion Colleen Harshbarger discussed the meditation mob with Danko three months ago, and have been working to make it happen.
"We want students to realize they can help alleviate stress by focusing on the now," said Meghan Phillips, Health Promotion Specialist for WELLWVU. "Our meditation mob is a symbol of energy – positive energy – that we want people passing through not just to see, but also feel."
Danko said he hoped the event helped make students aware that meditation can help clear their mind.
"We’re never truly aware of how stressed out we are, and we’re always kind of in these battles, whether it’s class, social life, family life," Danko said. "I think it’s really important to let people know that dealing with stress doesn’t always have to include nightlife resolutions or typical avenues we usually pursue – there are other ways to cope with it."
WELLWVU intern and second-year masters
student Justin Roth participated in the mob and hopes the meditation sent a valuable message to the student body.
"I think at the least this sent the message that there is an organization on campus that is interested in students’ well-being," Roth said. "Our goal was to get students interested in meditating as well, so hopefully many will try it out."
According to the National Collegiate Health Assessment II, WVU students identified stress as the leading cause of decreased academic performance.
After receiving the results, WELLWVU initiated its chillWELL campaign to aid students in combatting stress.
Through the chillWELL program, WELLWVU encourages students to adopt a relaxed, chillWELL state of mind to reduce stress and optimize quality of life and performance.
According to Phillips, most stress is determined by individual perception, so chillWELL focuses on helping students see the world from a more positive point of view.
Senior Ali Jeney said she was also surprised to see the meditation mob.
"I think what happens a lot in students’ lives is that they forget that it’s okay to stop and take a minute to think about where they are and what their goals are and how they are feeling," Jeney said. "Although I think that this may be an inconvenient spot for people to be sitting on campus, at the same time, I think it’s a great way to let students know that it is okay to stop and slow down."
"What we are trying to teach students with chillWELL is that stress is very much related to how you perceive and interact with the world around you, and that is something you can change. The meditation mob was really a tangible, visible way to show students that taking a few minutes out of your day to sit and just breathe can make a big
difference," Harshbarger said.
The chillWELL campaign will launch Oct. 30 on Wellness Day during Mountaineer Week and will continue through Dec. 14.
To learn more about how to participate in chillWELL activities, visit well.wvu.edu or www.facebook.com/WELLWVU.