Puppies & Positivity: OT class teaches students to manage stress

ccupational therapy synthesis class held a stress-relieving event on the Quad Tuesday to raise awareness for the symptoms of stress and promote stress-relieving resources.

“We joined together as a group and helped come up with the idea for the project and go through the university to plan to get it registered and everything,” occupational therapy graduate student Kyle Courtney said. “We ended up partnering with the counseling center and the recreation and fitness center.”

Activities for stress-relieving included cookie decorating, making stress balls with flour and balloons, and bike riding.

We were on our way to get lunch and when we saw the bikes,” said freshman nursing major Emily Baer. “I thought it was fun. It was definitely a stress reliever.”

The Vanderburgh County Humane Society also attended the event. They brought a guinea pig, a rabbit and two dogs for students to play with.

“We played with the little puppy Lola,” said freshman dental hygiene major Morgan Katron. “She was adorable.”

Courtney said he and his classmates decided to hold the event as a community project.

Because college students undergo a lot of stress throughout the semester, Courtney said the goal of the event is to raise awareness for some of the symptoms of stress.

“We’re trying to identify that some people don’t always notice whenever they’re really stressed out,” he said. “They don’t always handle it in a positive way.”

Courtney said he is trying to promote activities on campus that will help students manage their stress in a positive way.

“A lot of people also aren’t really aware of maybe the free services that the counseling center offers and a lot of the free events that the rec puts on that are kind of geared at fun, leisure activities like intramural sports,” he said.

The counseling center offers group and individual therapy sessions.

“So if a student is feeling overwhelmed in the amount of stress that is in their life, they can actually go in and meet with the counselor,” Shelby Tarantino, an Occupational Therapy Graduate Student said. “They also offer a quiet room in the counseling center that has a massage chair and it’s dark and there’s nice music. It’s kind of like a stress relief room.”

All of these events or services put on by the counseling center are free for students through student fees. The counseling center is located in the Orr Center.

“We’re also trying to promote Occupational Therapy and what it can do, because a lot of people don’t really know what an occupational therapist does,” Courtney said.

He said occupational therapists manage particular lifestyle factors of a person and is the “problem solver” that fixes those issues or finds ways that people can adapt to meet their needs.