Comfort tent creates a relaxing atmosphere


Mesa College students color, eat, sleep and relax inside the meditation tent set up just outside the school’s Library on Dec. 4.

Alicia Sanchez, News Editor

The end of the semester tends to bring excitement that school is almost over, but along with this comes a high level of stress in students. Because this is the most stressful time of the semester, the therapy program of Student Health Services organized the “Comfort Tent” in order to provide calming techniques, conversation, music, and refreshments.

While walking through campus, it was inevitable to see  the big, white tent that has helped many  people already in little time. It started on Tuesday, December 3rd  and ended on Monday, December 9th. Surrounding the tent were relaxing quotes that ultimately guide you inside. The Arabian decor brings a soothing atmosphere with it’s therapeutic colors: soft green, blue, brown, and burgundy are the most noticeable.

Many students have benefitted from having this tent on campus. Student siblings Alicia and Chris Overturf describe the tent as being “peaceful and warm.”

This tent has brought a place where students can come and relax. According to Linda Gibbins, therapist with Student Health Services, when people are calm, we can access more natural intelligence and creativity.  Even if a student may not know the answer to a question on the test, they can still use their creativity to formulate an answer either on a multiple choice or free response exam. This can only work if the individual is calm enough to think. When students are stressed, they close themselves from obtaining the information that should be easier to recall during a test. She also said that having a little stress in your life is normal. Regardless of how normal stress is, especially in community college students, people could go to this tent to meditate and study in a place not resembling a classroom.

This tent started in response to high student demand for more academic semester support. According to Sue Shrader, one of the coordinators for this tent, there have never been official tents such as this before in Mesa history. According to shrader, there have been many suicidal students that came to the tent and spoke to her about their problems. This tent not only provides a place to go when feeling anxious but  a person with a lending ear who is willing to help.

Acivities in the tent include but are not limited to engaging in easy conversation with surrounding students, playing board games, Socializing with new students, and even coloring. Therapist Gibbins says that it is a therapeutic technique: to present the calming activities and people will use them. All of these activities stimulate the right side of the brain that is responsible for creativity while the left is the academic side.  Gibbins states:”it is to help students come to a ground center, to have a support beacon on campus.”

It is the first year that this tent has occurred and although is has been very successful, students shared their opinions as to how it could be modified for the better. Some say to make it bigger with more seating options. Also, there should be more of these tents around campus as it does tend to get a bit popular.

Anonymous comments from the Comfort Tent Comments and Suggestions book include:

“This is a great time to come and clear my thoughts.”

“Love it! So relaxing!”

“Relaxing right before finals and midterms is the best idea ever. Meditation drawing and listening to calming music… it works wonders. Keep it up and bring it back every semester.”

The confort tent has effectively provided students with the chance to vent and relax in a non-academic environment right before finals week.