Gardening away guilt: PAWS event gives stressed students a ‘brain break’

Students wanting to unwind could paint a flower pot and plant some seeds at Gardening Away Guilt, an event hosted by Peer Advocates for Mental Wellness and Success, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Bosco Student Plaza. The event focused on reminding people to take care of themselves and encouraged selfcare. (Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

Alongside the Union Program Council’s recurring Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, a Gardening Away Guilt event welcomed students to Bosco Student Plaza.

Hosted by Peer Advocates for Mental Wellness and Success, Gardening Away Guilt was geared towards stressed students who may suffer from anxiety or depression, allowing them a chance to take a “brain break” to paint a small terracotta pot before filling it with seeds and soil.

PAWS also gave away free edible seeds to students as snacks.

Mackenzie Sleigh, graduate student in counseling and student development, oversaw the morning shift for the event. Sleigh said a student with an interest in horticulture therapy, or the practice of engaging in gardening activities to improve mental health, created the event last spring semester as a final project assignment.

She went on to say the event was successful, noting the quickly decreasing supply of terracotta pots as students painted and planted at high speeds, even though the event just started.

Grace Miller, freshman in human ecology, said it was a relaxing experience and a much-needed break from an already busy day. She painted her pot to simulate the sky and planted evening primrose flowers.

“It was super fun,” Miller said. “We all got a little brain break for the day, so it was helpful in that sense, and now we all have little plants for our rooms.”

In addition to flower pot painting, PAWS also gave away free edible seeds to students as snacks. (Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

Drew Langston, freshman in biology, painted hers purple and white to show Wildcat school spirit and planted Aster flowers.

“I think this was a good break to chill out after a busy class, especially with school picking up in the next few weeks,” she said.

The Counseling Services Outreach Program in the basement of Lafene Health Center houses PAWS. Their next meeting will be Monday, Oct. 7, in Calvin Hall, room 116 at 6 p.m.