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Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021 at 7:35 pm

Syracuse University’s First Wellness Day

By Lindsey Fine

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse University students had no classes today for the first of two “wellness days” this semester.

SU’s administration cancelled spring break with the goal of limiting student travel during the semester because students traveling out of central New York increases the spread of COVID-19. The university planned for students to attend classes every weekday for the entire spring semester, so SU sophomore Spencer Pierce created a petition that garnered over 2,400 signatures calling for SU to add wellness days into the spring calendar for students’ mental health.  

“Mental health is becoming a big topic and looking at the school schedule and having 70 plus days of just classes, no break, and then finals just didn’t sit right with me,” Pierce said.

The wellness days are meant to give students a break from classes and also for the university to hold events promoting mental health. Some activities included yoga, learning how to curl, hiking at Green Lake State Park, exercise classes, ice skating and information sessions about the Barnes Center’s mental health resources. 

“There’s no right thing to do on a wellness day, that’s kind of the beauty of it,” Pierce said.

“If something makes you happy, go for it, if you want to stay in bed all day, that’s a great option as well.”

Even though some students participated in the school-run activities, others chose to spend their wellness day relaxing outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. SU freshman Sophia Pappas spent the day journaling, drawing and unwinding on a picnic blanket outside the Hall of Languages with friends. 

“I think this came at the perfect time since it’s halfway through the semester and it’s the point where everyone’s starting to feel the pressure of the year,” Pappas said. “It’s a really nice break from everything.”

Even though SU announced their plan for an all-in-person fall 2021 semester with the usual breaks, Pierce said he thinks wellness days should continue after life returns to normal. 

“I would really like to see it implemented into the future schedule, even if we do have breaks, I think if you have weeks and weeks of school with no breaks it can really take a toll on students’ health,” Pierce said. 

The next and final wellness day will be on Wednesday, April 21.