SAIL offers pancakes, puppy love during finals week

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer

There are two kinds of stress: good stress that causes people to push themselves and stress that is viewed as bad, like worrying over a final, according to the Counseling and Psychological Services at EWU.

Eastern is starting to build traditions that focus on student stress during the end of the quarter. Events are held before finals week, and some of the events include getting to interact with animals and gathering together for a breakfast party at night.

John Dorwin, a professor of anthropology, said his students are faring quite well. His class finals include an in-class presentation of student research papers and an hourly exam that covers the last three weeks of class.

“Their stress is generally self-induced since they know from early in the quarter what is expected of them,” said Dorwin.

Mark Holmgren, assistant professor in economics, said his finals only focus on the materials since the last exam, but the materials build on themselves so students need to have a cumulitive understanding.

Holmgren said some students are stressed out and others are well prepared.

“It’s a mixed bag,” said Holmgren.

For the students who are stressed, Student Activities Involvement and Leadership (SAIL) is sponsoring the event Paws and Relax, which will bring animals to campus on March 9 and 11 through a collaboration with Pet Partners of Spokane.

Sundi Musnicki, SAIL adviser for campus programs, said she brought the idea to EWU based on institutions across the country that do similar events. SAIL began implementing the partnership last fall.

“In those situations, the presence and interaction with therapy pets helped students relieve some stress associated with finals and the end of the quarter,” said Musnicki. “Based on the popularity of the event elsewhere, I thought it was worth trying here at Eastern.”

The dogs coming to Eastern are all certified therapy animals who have undergone a screening process to ensure they can handle interacting with people of all ages and needs, said Musnicki.

Last quarter, 220 students attended the event and were able to visit with a poodle, a golden retriever, a collie and a cat, according to Musnicki.

“Students love animals, and many of them had to leave theirs at home when they came away to college,” said Musnicki. “They are excited to take a few moments out of their finals studying to spend some time with a new, four-legged friend.”

On March 11, SAIL and Eagle Entertainment are putting on the event Up All Night and on March 15 the Residential Housing Association (RHA) is throwing the quarterly Moonlight Breakfast sponsored by Eagle Entertainment and STCU.

The pilot program for the Moonlight Breakfast started at the end of the 2011 spring quarter and has continued each quarter since, according to Josh Ashcroft, chief housing officer of Residential Life.

Ashcroft said dorm communities used to have parties to celebrate the end of the quarter and RHA decided to bring them all together to make it bigger and more cost efficient.

“It’s a really good opportunity for students to get a good meal before finals kick off, to blow off the stress of preparing for finals and to be with their friends,” said Ashcroft.

According to Ashcroft, attendance of this event has steadily increased each quarter, and at the end of last fall quarter, around 700 students came.

Ashcroft said students can come and stay for a short time or hang around; it is up to them.

“I love the whole event and it’s a huge stress reliever for students,” said Pandora Meyer, RHA treasurer.

Meyer said even though she works the event, it helps her relax and it is something fun to do instead of being at home studying.

“No cost. No stress. Just have fun,” said Ashcroft.