Counseling Center creates space to decompress with ‘Hope, Peace, Love’ event

The Baylor Counseling Center hosts its annual “Hope, Peace, Love” event — an opportunity for students to connect with counseling opportunities on campus. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer

The Baylor Counseling Center (BUCC) hosted its annual “Hope, Peace, Love” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday on the first floor of the Baylor Sciences Building.

Students stopping by on their way to class could participate in activities like decorating cookies, creating friendship bracelets, playing games and entering giveaways for prizes at the various tables set up for the event.

Dr. Esther Hooley, a psychologist and coordinator of multicultural services with the BUCC, said the goal of the event was to offer students a space for peace among the chaos of college and to inform students about the resources offered by the BUCC.

“We wanted to be able to spend regular time with students outside of the therapy room and help reduce the stigma that’s often associated with mental health or seeking therapy,” Hooley said. “It’s right before spring break. Students need that little pick-me-up right to get to the finish line. Students can forget about their mental health or physical health just because they have a to-do list. Taking the time to reconnect with yourself, to pause and take a breath — that can actually take you further in the week.”

Hooley said each of the tables was built around the themes of hope, peace and love and was designed to engage with students through fun activities and teach them strategies to deal with mental health.

“We have crafts and giveaways and free food, games to play just as a pause in the business of life, where hopefully students can have a few moments where they’re experiencing something like peace or hope or love or learning about healthy relationships,” Hooley said. “We’ll have these booths, but the hope is that students can engage with them and then take something from them and pass it along if they choose to.”

Plano senior Ritu Bhatt, president of Active Minds, said Active Minds’ booth at the event was based around teaching students the importance of self-love through affirmations. Active Minds gave out carnations made of tissue paper and lollipops with positive, affirming messages attached.

“We thought it would be nice to highlight not just romantic love that we see in February with Valentine’s Day, but with love and just loving yourself,” Bhatt said. “It’s nice to know that your school and the people around you care about you, even if you don’t actively feel like that.”

The Department of Wellness had a booth set up giving out “gratitude journals” for students to write about things they were grateful for. Tustin, Calif., junior Anna Shipcott said filling out gratitude journals can increase positivity, self-esteem and happiness as well as improve sleep and reduce stress. She also said it is important to take a mental break.

“I think that it’s important to have this type of event, especially in the BSB,” Shipcott said. “Just taking time out of your day, focusing on positive stuff and letting yourself have a mental break and just be happy for a little bit and just not focusing on what you have to do.”

Plano junior Ryan Priest said he stopped by the event because he is passionate about mental health and wanted to see what the BUCC had going on. He said he always tries to stay in the right state of mind in order to not be overwhelmed by school.

“[Being in the right state of mind] prevents burnout,” Priest said. “It lowers stress, and it makes being in school more enjoyable. It’s just nice to slow down and appreciate what all we have going on that’s good and knowing people are trying to do a nice thing for us. Accepting something like that can make you feel good too.”