Photos by Claire Copeland
The focus of the Student Wellness Advisory Board’s first Healthy Happy Hour and Convocation was simple: hope. Pepperdine’s Student Wellness Advisory Board presented its first wellness event this semester, Healthy Happy Hour and Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 19 in Mullin Town Square.
The special event was for the Board’s Resilience Program Launch, a new program starting this school year. The Student Wellness Advisory Board (SWAB) created the Resilience Program to bring its “Health Happens Here 2020” mission to life, working to create and sustain wellness among the Pepperdine community.
Video by Marisa Dragos
“Mental health is so important to me, and this creates the possibility for discussion for me and my friend group,” junior Tiffany Hall said. “Even standing at the tables, I was able to talk to people because it’s directly affected me before.”
The purpose of SWAB is to promote student participation and overall wellness on campus. SWAB interns staffed the event and separated the evening into three blocks: Happy Hour, Convocation and Refresh. At 3 p.m. students gathered around a free trail mix bar, picked up a Comfort Colors T-shirt and participated in interactive wellness tables.
The Healthy Happy Hour took place at Mullin Town Square, with convocation in Elkins Auditorium. After convocation, light refreshments — including Pressed Juicery wellness shots — and massages were available.
SWAB set up for the Happy Hour by filling the Town Square with music. Junior Emma Mattingly, SWAB volunteer, said she made the playlist especially for the event, picking alternative songs, such as “6’s to 9’s” by Big Wild, that were “upbeat and happy”.
After making their personalized trail mix bowls at the trail mix bar, friends took turns sharing colorful sharpies to add their own ideas to framed word clouds.
Word clouds encouraged students to share what inspires them and what gives them joy. Maria Sangit, a Student Affairs intern for Health, Wellness and Resilience, worked the table.
“My favorite table is this one; students get to express their act of resilience [in] the community word clouds,” Sangit said.
As a speaker at the evening’s convocation, Sangit said she loved setting up this event for students because it “gives them tools during crisis and times of struggle.”
Saje Essential Oils had an interactive table with samples, diffusers, oil blends and a Saje representative there to educate students on the benefits. Students practiced deep breaths and rubbed “Liquid Sunshine,” Saje’s most popular oil blend, on their wrists.
After the demonstration, Hall opened up her backpack to show off her collection of Saje Essential Oils in a travel case.
“I roll [Peppermint Halo] when I’m studying and when I’m in class — no shame!” Hall said.”I also diffuse it because I have never slept so well in my life. I’m a very tense person, so essential oils are very helpful for myself. The less chemicals I can put into my body, the better I feel.”
Hall said she has struggled with her mental health in college, and she is glad to see Pepperdine recognizing this and starting an open dialogue.
During convocation, several speakers shared intimate stories about their own dark moments and how they found resilience. Many touched on aspects of their personal lives as well as academic achievement, with topics ranging from mental health, student success, abuse, assault, self-doubt, toxic relationships and recovery from violence.
“I really liked how personal Marina [Sangit] was with the crowd,” freshman Cailin Bennett said. “I joined the Resilience Program because we do a lot on campus that I really resonated with, so I signed up to be a representative.”
Connie Horton, vice president for Student Affairs, led the discussion and served as a moderator. After convocation, she said she was pleased with the turnout and student connections.
“People were really engaged to the stories,” Horton said. “I want it to be a message of hope that we can move forward and bounce back. They don’t have to feel hopeless; there is a way out.”
Students of all backgrounds, grade levels and struggles were able to come together at this launch — the first of many Resilience Program events. Speakers touched on the topic of rest, an element of wellness that most college students neglect.
Junior Jennifer Bahn said she recently transferred to Pepperdine after a gap year doing mission work.
“I always appreciate when people step up and are brave enough to tell the vulnerable parts of their story,” Bahn said. “The hope is that through their story someone else can benefit from it and hear that they’re not alone. It was great that people in our facility and our community are willing to be vulnerable.”
The panel’s final message emphasized the value of rest, especially for Christians.
“They did really well to tie in the fact that rest and taking care of yourself is something God wants you to do,” Bahn said. “It’s a message that Pepperdine students need to hear in a culture of go-go-go and stress.”
Email Claire Copeland: email@example.com