CU Denver’s Peace Picnic uplifted students
Creative means of addressing student anxiety
The CU Denver Office of Events and Partnerships hosted its first Peace Picnic on Oct. 4. The event sponsor promoted the Peace Picnic as a celebration of “peace, positivity, and togetherness.”
Jesse Credit, a Student Event Programmer with the Office of Events and Partnerships and one of the key event organizers, said, “For me, this Peace Picnic was about promoting peace and wellness in our campus community along with enhancing the sense of community among CU students.”
The Peace Picnic prominently featured tie dye stations and gave students who were interested in participating free shirts, beanies, or socks. The event also had stations for origami, friendship bracelets, and a taco bar from Qdoba.
SeKhai Callier, a Student Event Planner, was another key organizer involved in planning the picnic. Callier said one of the goals behind planning the picnic was to “build more of a connection” as “people are at a point in the semester where they’re feeling overwhelmed.”
Luis Hernandez, who also works for the Office of Events and Partnerships, added, “We want students to relax while they’re at this event… stress levels at this point in the semester are really high.”
Finding innovative ways to address stress levels could be vital for students. According to the American Psychological Association, there was a 30 percent rise in students seeking appointments at counseling centers between 2009–10 and 2014–15.
Additionally, 61 percent of students seeking counseling services are specifically struggling with anxiety.
A recent report from CBS News cited academic and career pressures, health concerns, and family and relationship issues as potential sources of stress for many college students.
With all the stress students are facing at this point in the semester, Hernandez explained, “We want students to have some fun between classes.”
The event featured signs that read “Your story matters,” “People need other people,” and “HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends.”
Callier said she came up with the idea for tie dye because “People in our office had never done tie dye, so I assumed [that] was true for many students on campus.”
The tie dye stations all displayed instructions for various t-shirt design patterns, including a “bullseye” and “sunburst.”
After the picnic, Credit said, “We were busy from the start at 11:00 a.m. and had people waiting in line to sign in throughout the duration of the event. We even had some students stay beyond our 2:00 p.m. cut off to finish their tie dye… Students were consistently telling me how much they enjoyed the event and the opportunity to create a tie dye shirt. Some had made one in the past, and some had never made one before, and this was a great chance to expose them to something new.”
Callier said a total of 206 students attended the Peace Picnic and added, “This event was a complete success… Overall I think students were really happy.”
Office of Events