While the University of Wyoming grapples with a budget crisis, students now have the stress of finals on their minds.

Finals begin Monday, and in efforts to help students manage the stress, UW is hosting various destressor events.

“It’s important in the sense of being able to find ways to manage stress in a healthy way,” UW Late Night Events coordinator Channing Downing said.

Destressor events this week included massages, dog petting, coloring, presentations on study tips and meditation. This is leading up to the 7220 Entertainment Destressor event tonight, where students are invited to participate in a variety of activities at no cost.

The Wellness Center, 7220 Entertainment, Coe Library, Residence Hall Association and the Center of Advising and Career Services have all collaborated to host the week of events.

“We are not promoting the elimination of stress — moderate amounts of stress can be beneficial,” Lena Newlin, Wellness Center Assistant Director said. “However, chronically high levels of stress can be detrimental, so we are trying to provide healthy outlets to help people manage their stress.”

UW Student Health Service Director Joanne Steane said she sees an influx of patients due to stress this time of year. She recommended students seek medical attention “if the measures you take to alleviate stress are not effective and the stress starts interfering with your ability to be productive.”

Steane suggested students find a ways to cope with stress through meditation, stretching, exercise and socializing.

Downing said these factors helped determine which activities to incorporate into tonight’s destressor event. The theme is a “throwback to childhood,” including stuffed animal stations, dodgeball, massages, kickball, an obstacle course and more.

“There’s really no other time you want to be a kid again — except during finals,” she said. “In terms of science being able to kind of run off that energy and stress and play dodge ball and hit each other might help release endorphins, and once you finally sit down to study again, it will help you focus.”

Downing noted the destressor cannot provide an “A” on a final, but it can be a way to unwind.

This same philosophy was incorporated into the events earlier this week. Certified therapy dogs through the Rockin’ E Dog Training and Consulting were brought in for the “doggy destressor” at the UW Wellness Center.

“Studies suggest that petting a kind animal can help people relax, feel more optimistic and less pre-occupied with everyday stress,” Newlin said.

Newlin noted the Wellness Center provides stress management programs throughout the semester — not just at the end.

Other than finals, Steane said stress could accumulate at this time of year due to winter weather, holidays, travel, finances and other factors.

Downing, also a UW student, said this time of year is certainly demanding for her as well.

“I feel like a lot of heavy projects — papers, presentations, papers — all collectively hit at the end,” she said. “At Thanksgiving break, you get a little glimpse of a break and then come back and get bombarded with stuff and go into finals.”

She said she is expecting a turnout of 500-800 students at tonight’s event.

The event runs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. at Half Acre Gym. Only UW students can attend, and must bring a student ID card.

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