De-Stress Fest allows students to take a break during finals

Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway Students take a break from studying to pet puppies inside Milo Bail Student Center
Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway
Students take a break from studying to pet puppies inside Milo Bail Student Center

By Kelly Langin, Contributor

Various campus organizations teamed up with Student Activities to create De-Stress Fest, a week-long event during Dead Week filled with free activities designed to help minimize student stress before finals.
One of the more popular events was Pet-a-Puppy, an opportunity for students to hang out with dogs at the Milo Bail Student Center to relieve stress. Pet-a-Puppy was sponsored by Maverick Productions, Freshman Leadership Council and the Network for Disability Awareness.
Students swarmed the Maverick Lounge, where about five dogs sat or lay on the carpet. Some students milled around the outside of the crowd, waiting for an opportunity to break into one of the circles surrounding the dogs. Other students cooed and sat with the dogs, taking photos with their phones and laughing with friends.
Jack, a small poodle mix, lay his chin on the floor as his owner, Farrah Grant, stroked his back. A circle of students surrounded Jack, petting his head and asking Grant about the dog and the organization.
Grant, a Domesti-Pups representative and part-time geography teacher at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said the dogs are trained to be comfortable in large crowds and stressful situations.
“He enjoys being petted and hanging out,” Grant said.
Students Jana Steiner, Jessica Oerter and Josh Mueller hung outside the circles of puppy-petting students, observing the action and discussing their finals.
Steiner, a senior speech and language pathology major, said they just came to “observe and hang out.” She noted the event is a good distraction from studying for finals.
Oerter, a senior math major, said that although Maverick Lounge may have been too crowded of a space for this event, she liked the opportunity for students to come together.
The Wellness on Wheels event, also on Wednesday, gave students the opportunity to check their Body Mass Index, blood pressure and weight, and to take advantage of free chair massages in the Eppley Administration Building.
Student Government and Student Activities teamed up to give away free “Finals Survival Kits” around campus Monday and Tuesday. The kits included granola bars, fruit snacks and writing utensils. They also offered free chair massages in the building of Health Physical Education and Recreation on Monday and in the library on Tuesday.
Campus Recreation presented live music to complement free snacks and chair massages in the HPER building on Thursday. On the same day, free foot and aqua massagers, appetizers and carnival games were available in MBSC.
The UNO hockey team played back-to-back games against Cloud State Friday and Saturday. A pre-game party was held on Friday at DJ’s Dugout. The party offered free appetizers and Maverick gear.
Inside the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, the Collaborative asked for help making fleece blankets, dog toys and scarves all week. Hot chocolate and popcorn were available to volunteers.