OPINION: The ‘Wildside’ of spirituality on campus

Entry to On the Wildside (Lily Murray | Collegian Media Group)

With the first round of quizzes and exams around the corner, could crystals be the solution to classroom stress? In recent years, new age practices, such as crystals, incense and meditation, have seen a boom due to apps like TikTok. The novel accessibility of the topic has allowed many to get their foot in the door and explore their beliefs. 

Though there has been a recent spike in popularity, spirituality has deep roots, even right here in Manhattan. Megan Springer said Aggieville’s local spirituality supply shop, On the Wildside, was established over 30 years ago, and has been owned by her family for over 20 years.

Springer said she is happy for the chance to help so many new people. 

“The pandemic was tough, and it gave a lot of people time to reflect and expand their spirituality,” Springer said. 

The majority of customers at On the Wildside are Wildcats, but many come from surrounding communities, like Fort Riley. Especially with those who come from rural communities, the shop can be an important place to experience the culture and practices that surround spirituality.

Spirituality differs from religion in that it is not any rigid set of beliefs. Instead, each person has their own opinions and beliefs which range from the power and energy of certain objects or actions to the general idea of positivity. No matter the specific beliefs, just the experience with the culture of spirituality can help people fully realize their own beliefs. 

“Students are in the transition period of their lives, and they might find something they love,” Olivia Gambler, sophomore in biology and pre-med, said. 

Even if they don’t necessarily share the beliefs of Springer, some students around campus fully believe that spirituality can have a real positive impact on those who take part. 

“You frame your mind around something and it puts you on the right path,” Ellie Vaughan, sophomore in secondary education, said.

Many people simply like the idea of pretty rocks and good smells, which Springer said she is completely fine with.  

“Either way, I believe in it, and I hope it will bring them good things,” Spring said. 

The shop has tapestries, posters, purses, clothes, crystals, beads and a wide range of jewelry. Wildcats are welcome to come visit, ask for advice or even just distress by petting the store cat, Star. Brightening the lives of each patron is the goal of Wildside, Springer said.