As the Nov. 3 election night hit the 8 o’clock hour, several Muhlenberg students paused their electoral map tracking to participate in an hour of stress relief activities. In a virtual Zoom event, hosted by ‘BergVotes and the CENTER (Multicultural Life and Community Engagement), students gathered to relax, play games and disengage from election results if only for a short while.
Greeted by the tone of soothing music, arriving students chose between joining a breakout room for “fun & games,” a breakout room intended for reflection and a breakout room to discuss positive hopes. The former was led by members of ‘BergVotes while the two latter, the CENTER.
“Entering into political engagement is an important part of student development. Navigating these experiences is important for students to continue into their futures as global citizens,” said Eveily Freeman, Kiyaana Cox Jones, Beth Halpern and Robin Riley-Casey in an email statement on behalf of the CENTER. “Also important, for all of us, is self care. Joining together is an act of self and community care.”
“Joining together is an act of self and community care.”
Most students gravitated towards the gaming room, where participants engaged in rounds of the popular online game “Among Us.” Later, before departing the virtual space, many students chose to share their election thoughts and reflections.
“I chose to attend it because I saw the event on social media and I saw it was some games being hosted. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I’m stressed. Let me attend.’ That’s how and why I attended,” said Connor Baker ‘22.
Despite engaging several students, the destresser event was not widely attended. The CENTER and ‘BergVotes, however, were not deterred by the lack of turnout. Rather than achieving high student numbers, they intended the event to provide a space for students should they need it.
“It was important to offer a safe space for students to express themselves and unwind after the stressful day. The debrief provided a virtual platform for students to unwind from the day since they cannot leave their homes,” said Ryan Abrams ‘23, Social Media Chair of ‘BergVotes.
All day prior to the relaxation event, ‘BergVotes and the Office of Community Engagement offered Zoom open hours for students to ask non-partisan questions about the election or participate in a discussion.
On campus ‘BergVotes and the Office of Community Engagement tabled in the Light Lounge offering candy and stickers. Particularly for those who voted by mail and did not receive their “I Voted” sticker, ‘BergVotes provided an opportunity to grab one of those coveted gems, in addition to one that read “I voted during a pandemic.” Additionally, slap-bracelet decorating and poster-making for students to share their reasons for voting were offered.
On Nov. 4, ‘BergVotes and CENTER hosted a post-election reflection from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for both on-campus and remote students, as well as another debrief hosted by ‘Berg Votes from 7-8 p.m.
The CENTER encourages students to participate in the Political Science Election Post-Mortem on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.