Holistic Health Day helps students before they hit hiatus

by Mary Liz Flavin | news editor

March 3, 2022

On Monday, Student Life and the Division of Mission and Identity teamed up together to create Holistic Health Day, a day filled with activities meant to help students take a break from the stress of midterms as well as treat their overall mind, body and spirit. 

Events such as Fill Your Spirit Tank (& Stomach): where students could swing by the third floor of the Student Union and grab a treat from Peace Love and Little Donuts, and My Brother/Sister’s keeper notes: where students could write a note to a friend, faculty or staff filled with encouragement and thanks allowed students to take a break from the academic grind and participate in activities that either lended a hand to their physical or their mental health. 

Ashley Kane, assistant director of programming and freshman development, was a part of the committee that determined what activities would best help students achieve holistic health. 

“People could pick and choose what they wanted from the Power Center, that had massage chairs, really focusing on the muscle relaxing part; to the Counseling Center, that was open from 8:30-4:30 for mental health screening,” Kane said. “There was enough for them to pick and choose what their mind, body and spirit needed.” 

One program in particular that students enjoyed was Goodbye Worries, Hello Warmth. This particular activity had students write down their worries and burn them in the fire pit outside the Laval House on Academic Walk. Afterward they got to enjoy a tasty s’more, roast marshmallows and gather around the fire together. 

Luci-Jo Dimaggio, director of mission animation, helped run the stand and represented the Division of Mission and Identity, a campus-wide collaboration that encourages students, faculty and staff to carry out the Spiritan mission and serve the common good. 

“I think there is something about making a worry tangible, sometimes they can be so big and abstract that we can’t really get a hold of them. Here we can offer it up to the fire, then watch it disappear which can be really helpful,” Dimaggio said. “Also you get a s’more, and what a perfect night for it. Just taking a break is what this is all about.” 

To Dimaggio, the Holistic Health Day is figuring out what types of self care works for each student. It is about the little things that help in small ways. Whether it is seeking out counseling, or enjoying a treat, all of the little activities students do to help their health add up in a positive way. 

In addition, Dimaggio said that the fire is a part of the faith experience and creates a communal environment. 

Duquesne student Sarah Knox enjoyed being with her friends and taking a moment to enjoy the simple things in life such as standing around a campfire. 

“I think it’s a great way to remember that we’re human and that we can let go of our worries every once and a while. It’s a nice way to socialize and not worry about things for half an hour,” Knox said. 

Many campus organizations came together to cover a variety of mental and physical aspects of wellbeing with healthy activities. 

The Counseling Center helped with the mental and emotional side of health, and the Power Center helped with the physical and nutritional aspects. Mission Identity, Mission Animation, and Spirit Campus Ministry aided in the spiritual side of things. Lastly, Student Life Programming brought everything together to create an experience for students to enjoy. 

According to Kane, the mental health apps UnpackU and Oasis, which are free to all Duquesne students, lent a hand to the more mental-focused activities to bring awareness to mental health. 

“Self care isn’t defined in one bubble, it’s not always about eating healthy or constantly praying. We appreciate both of those aspects but health care is individualized, the idea of being holistic matters,” Kane said. “I hope students took away that we see them for who they really are and want to provide services that care for them.”