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Mindful : October 2014
College can be intense. In 2013, the National College Health Assessment found more than 40% of college students felt a higher than average level of stress and 15% felt “so depressed it was difficult to function.” Another study conducted the same year found that half of those surveyed felt hopeless. One of the solutions offered to students was the intia- tion of mindful meditation programs in colleges around the country. The courses are designed to help students handle the stress that comes with school. Here are four prominent examples: University of Minnesota The Mindfulness for Students Club offers group sitting meditation, yoga, and qigong. Each week, a guest speaker leads a class followed by time to socialize, and as often as twice a year a mindfulness teacher will lead a half-day mini retreat. All the programs hosted by Mindfulness for Students are free and, during finals, the meditation room is available to harried studiers who need a quiet moment for themselves. University of Syracuse Syracuse’s eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course strives to improve both the scholarly Relieving Student Stress and personal well-being of the student community. The free, non-credit course is led by a certified MBSR instructor, consisting of weekly sessions and at-home meditation assignments. Students learn body scan techniques, as well as yoga and walking meditations. University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh’s Stress Free Zone is a room dedicated to calm. It offers scheduled classes for guided relaxation, yoga, and meditation, and peer educa- tors can be scheduled to visit student organizations and residences to teach mindful practices. University of Missouri The Mindfulness Practice Center at U of M offers medita- tion and yoga sessions to students. The university’s student health center also has a wide variety of mind- fulness-based courses, and the Mindfulness Meditation Group meets once a week. Many of U of M’s programs are free of charge, and some of the courses count toward students’ credit hours. ● For more information on meditation programs at U.S . and Canadian colleges, go to mindful. org/resources October 2014 mindful 19 Illustration by Gavin Potenza