Fairy lights twinkle, illuminating a wellness room full of pianos, calming tapestries, a pc and bean bag chairs. This enjoyable area contrasts starkly to the opposite bustling rooms positioned within the James J. Whalen Heart for Music.
Ithaca Faculty’s Psychological Well being Consciousness for Musicians Affiliation (MHAMA) created six of those wellness rooms this semester. The areas are arrange in outdated college workplaces all through the College of Music and might be signed out by all music college students by a type on 25Live.
Junior Caitlin Dansereau, president of ICMHAMA, stated the group first considered creating wellness areas final yr, however the concept needed to be placed on maintain because of the pandemic.
Junior Caitlin Glastonbury, treasurer of ICMHAMA, stated the thought was sparked once they went with junior Gavin Tremblay, an officer of MHAMA, to the rooms arrange within the Hammond Well being Heart which are designated for stress reduction.
Glastonbury stated they loved the areas however felt that it was inaccessible to college students within the College of Music.
“We needed to dedicate a variety of outing of our day, which we didn’t essentially have, to interact with this useful resource,” Glastonbury stated. “And that then introduced up the dialog that I believe a variety of Whalen college students have, which is that we don’t usually go away that constructing. Through the day, college students are likely to get there within the morning and be booked with courses and examine time and training till the night, and so it’s usually exhausting to separate that work right into a protected area the place you’ll be able to loosen up and unwind. And so we needed to create that within the constructing.”
Freshman Emma Commisso, a music schooling main, stated she took a check within the wellness area and located that it was a way more enjoyable place to spend time than the observe rooms.
“You may hear everybody from different observe rooms,” Commisso stated. “You’re right here for the primary time with different folks, and also you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, am I adequate?’ and also you’re simply so in your head. And so then to be in an area that claims, ‘Hey, you’re allowed to loosen up,’ and also you’re allowed to simply go at your personal tempo, no matter that is likely to be, if it’s quicker or slower than others. It’s only a good reminder to care for ourselves.”
Junior Erin Smith, secretary of MHAMA, stated the Whalen Pupil Council, previously referred to as the Dean’s Advisory Council, met with Ron Dow, a social employee in CAPS, in 2020 to debate psychological well being in Whalen and articulate college students’ wants.
Smith stated that shortly after the assembly, MHAMA met with Dow to debate psychological well being points additional and to suggest the wellness areas.
Dow stated he has been working as a marketing consultant for the College of Music for 8–9 years.
“Despite the fact that they know that they’re right here at school to study, there’s nonetheless part of them that seems like they need to be excellent,” Dow stated. “In order that feeling of with the ability to share that they’re fighting nervousness or despair, with a professor or with different college students, it’s simply actually exhausting as a result of they don’t need anybody to really feel like they’ll’t do their half or be part of the ensemble.”
Dow stated that after this assembly he informed Interim Dean Keith Kaiser and Interim Affiliate Dean Ivy Walz in regards to the wellness areas concept.
Smith stated the deans reached out to MHAMA this semester and agreed to fund the challenge.
Tremblay stated the administration’s assist of the wellness areas was beneficiant and is an effective begin, however that it doesn’t resolve how college students’ psychological well being is impacted by Whalen’s high-pressure culture.
“This isn’t a small-level, insignificant change,” Tremblay stated. “This can be a enormous cultural phenomenon, … this concept that, as a result of we’re such a prestigious music faculty, it must be like lava and also you’re a diamond. And for those who can stand the strain, then you definitely’ll harden into one thing wonderful and exquisite and suave. And I’ll be completely sincere, I believe that’s complete BS. I believe that may be a cop-out philosophy and it teaches folks that their psychological well being is just not one thing that ought to be taken care of.”
Smith stated that final semester, MHAMA wrote a letter to Whalen college and administration in assist of the psychological well being subgroup of the Whalen Pupil Council. She stated the subgroup had spoken to administration however felt that no change was being made in response to the psychological well being struggles college students had been dealing with due to the pandemic.
“I believe that this letter was an necessary step as a result of usually when points happen, school administration will fake to repair or handle the issue with out actually fixing something,” Smith stated. “Change occurs so slowly in universities on the whole, however we would have liked options as quickly as attainable as a result of college students had been actually struggling.”
Smith stated that after publishing the letter, she heard that some college members altered their programs, however stated she nonetheless is uncertain if any concrete adjustments had been made. This semester, Smith stated the psychological well being subgroup of the Whalen Pupil Council introduced at a college assembly about psychological well being and college students’ wants.
Along with the wellness areas, MHAMA has been internet hosting digital occasions this semester, together with mindfulness actions, paint and sips and a neighborhood cleanup on the commons.
Dansereau stated that in future MHAMA occasions and initiatives, she hopes to proceed advocating for psychological well being, significantly in areas that aren’t continuously addressed.
“I believe we’re simply persevering with with discovering subjects that aren’t essentially talked about, or that we wish to speak about however different persons are type of shying away from,” Dansereau stated. “However we wish to be daring and assured about that and be like, ‘We have to speak about this as a result of this has some points proper now.’ Let’s carry some consciousness to it, let’s begin that dialog.”