BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – There’s now a place on Bluefield University’s campus where students can go for relieving stress.
The Bluefield University Center for Counseling and Wellness has partnered with the Virginia Counselor’s Association to open a new mindfulness space for students. It’s designed for them to learn healthy coping strategies and practice mindfulness, a form of meditation that enhances awareness and focus.
“There are many spaces on campus that feel like they’re meant to be relaxing but students can feel pressure to be in them because there are lots of other people or it’s very quiet like the library is an excellent place to hang out, but it can feel too quiet and like you’re supposed to work,” says Alysia Townsley, a student at Bluefield University.
The idea for the space came in the Fall of 2019. Director of Student Thriving and Success Alan Smith, along with a couple of professors from the psychology and counseling departments, saw the need for it.
After applying for a grant through the VCA Foundation, the group was awarded $700 towards the project in October of that year. The project got delayed due to the pandemic, but it is now finally coming to fruition.
“We had to figure out how to navigate that with COVID, shared spaces, what does that look like? Thankfully we’ve learned more about it and just finding a space where students can be safe here as they take a moment to relax and just practice mindfulness,” Director of Counseling and Wellness, Emily Cook says. “So, we really just want to encourage them to pause, be present, and take a moment for themselves every day.”
As the new Director of Counseling and Wellness at the university, Cook was on board with the mindfulness space project and got involved right away. She credits the school’s maintenance team for helping to bring her vision for the space to life.
The mindfulness space is located on the second floor of the science building on Bluefield’s campus. It’s open to the school community during the science center’s regular hours of operation.