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Office of Campus Life ‘Treat Yourself’ event at The Bridge Cafe allows students to de-stress and un-wind with coloring and free snacks

The Well-Being Center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Recreational Sports and Fitness department co-hosted the event

The American University Office of Campus Life held a “Treat Yourself” self-care event at The Bridge Cafe on Feb. 8 with activities like coloring and garland-making for students to enjoy. 

The event closed out Winter Orientation for new incoming spring semester students, but was open to all. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion also directed invitations towards the new-student crowd, as it matched up with the transfer curriculum calendar. 

“We all have a common goal of academic achievement, but underneath that, in order to really get what we’re hoping for in terms of academic achievement, we have to take care of ourselves — it’s so important,” Amanda Dowd, assistant director of orientation, said. 

According to Dowd, the Bridge was chosen with careful thought, as they wanted a space where students already felt comfortable expressing themselves. 

“It’s about self-care and self-love, so we want to promote that first. We want to promote that platonic love, and the idea that friendship is just as valid, and just as important,” Dowd said. “Especially during Valentine’s Day, a lot of folks can feel lonely — if you’re not with someone, or it’s not your cup of tea. This can be for everyone. So, we just wanted to promote an alternative to the typical Valentine’s Day party.” 

There were many AU wellness-related organizations present, including CDI, AU Recreational Sports & Fitness and the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services. Taylor Guskind, AU Kitchen’s dietitian, was also available for students to talk to. 

“I work for CDI, the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, and we’re all about wellness, because we’re all about creating a comfortable space for students coming from all ethnic backgrounds,” said Deborah Tadesse, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our mission is to foster a community in which people can feel comfortable with whoever they are.”

Other students present at the event resonated with the need for some re-centering time in a safe space. 

“Valentine’s Day is not just a day for significant others and couples, it’s for loving yourself and your friends,” Isabelle Lopez, a sophomore in the School of Communication, said. “There’s Galentine’s Day for a reason.” 

The “Treat Yourself” agenda was centered around self-care and spending time to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. As it took place so close to Valentine’s Day, a holiday typically centered around romantic love and relationships, the wholesome, individual focus was refreshing to see. 

“Sometimes the best emotional satisfaction you can get is just by spending some time by yourself,” Gabby Landis, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said. “It’s good to be mindful, to reflect on how you’re doing, and to just do things you enjoy, even if those things are by yourself.” 

Edited by Hannah Langenfeld, Kylie Bill and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Stella Guzik. 

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