WSU students unwind and celebrate diversity

Ally Nelson

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One of the dresses that the latin dancing showcases (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

Weber State University students and the Ogden community celebrated their various cultures at the Intercultural Welcome Reception on Sept. 24. WSU leaders President Brad Mortensen, Vice President of The Ohana Association Finau Kalolaine Tauteoli and WSUSA President Bret Alexander joined in the festivities.

Student and club leaders were eager to share information about their organization and help attendees understand what resources are available to them.

Booths lined the outer border of the upstairs ballroom in the Shepherd Union. Student Support Services welcomed students with a handout explaining the opportunities there are if they apply to the Student Support Services Program.

The on-campus organization provides up to five hours of tutoring for any class per week and free book loans and grants from anywhere between $500 and $2,000. There are restrictions and requirements in order to receive the grant.

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There were foods from different parts of the world that were able to be enjoyed (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

Over at the Counseling & Psychological Services Center booth, Dianna Abel — executive director of Counseling, Health and Wellness — and clinical mental health counseling intern Ivy Chavez discussed the benefits of adults coloring books.

Psychologist Carl Jung was among the first researchers to discover the healing benefits of coloring books, according to Abel’s handout. He discovered that people tend to be calmer and experience significantly less amounts of stress while coloring.

Abel said there is an importance in prioritizing mental health and finding a balance within school. There are resources online that cater to the needs of students, whether that be test anxiety or chronic stress and anxiety.

Abel told attendees about Therapy Assistance Online, a platform of self-help educational modules students can utilize to learn and adapt their feelings surrounding stressors.

There are numerous ways to de-stress, but according to Chavez, mindful meditation is her favorite way to de-stress, such as being in tune with her senses.

“Doing the dishes seems like such a chore,” Chavez said. “But if you’re doing it mindfully, you can smell the soap, appreciate that way it feels on your skin and smelling the other dishes. It’s a lot better than being stressed out about the chores that have to get done.”

Beyond learning about mindfulness, students shared their cultural customs. Tauteoli said she jumped at the opportunity to have a booth for TOA and educate others on her Polynesian roots.

“Being able to have a table where people can ask questions gives us an opportunity to tell them about our culture,” Tauteoli said.

Mortensen said he enjoys events where the WSU community comes together, adding that it’s important that students who feel hesitant to participate or attend events try it.

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Students pinned where they were from on the map (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

“I’m sure many of these students have felt that same way at one point,” Mortensen said. “Once they took that first step to be engaged, there’s a whole community ready to receive them.”

Mortensen said he learns something new every day from students with different backgrounds, especially when there are events like this that help represent them and their cultures.

“We’re always just a big family that supports each other,” Mortensen said. “That doesn’t mean we always get along, but when we come together, we work towards common purposes. That’s what I love about Weber State.”