Zen Week the sequel

Climate and Culture Team organizes second Zen Week

Zen Week the sequel

From Jan. 9-13, Jones Climate and Culture Team organized the school’s second Zen Week, with both handouts and activities scheduled in the lobby before morning classes.

Just before finals, the Climate and Culture Team held a Zen Week with the aim of reducing stress for students heading into finals and the end of the semester. Following winter break, the Climate and Culture Coordinator, Pablo Lopez, worked on organizing a second Zen Week to start off the new semester strong.

“The first Zen Week was about chill, about relaxing before finals,” said Lopez. “Now it’s about empowerment.”

With the theme of empowerment, the second Zen Week focused on helping students to establish support systems and make their voices heard.

“If you look at the boards downstairs, we have all kinds of things that really speak to coping mechanisms and how we help you feel empowered,” said Lopez. 

Lopez, as well as many other members of the Jones staff, have been working to create opportunities for students to get support where they need it.

“We have a list of people that you can turn to for help,” said Lopez. “I want people to feel free to see me when they need help, because even if I might not be the right person, I’ll work to figure out how to help.”

 Despite the good intentions of the Climate and Culture Team, some students expressed disappointment in the original Zen Week.

“What I was really hoping for was that what made Zen Week ‘Zen Week’ would be more related to what was really causing us stress: finals,” said Kabir Iyer ‘24. “Because, to me, the way that they dealt with Zen Week felt very superficial and ineffective.”

With the semester coming to an end, the first Zen Week came during an incredibly stressful time for many students, leading some to struggle connecting with the events and activities of that week.

“I heard [that] many people had tests the week before finals, so it was chaos all over,” said Kasia Chlebek ‘24. “Zen Week just wasn’t effective enough.”

For the second Zen Week, the Climate and Culture Team planned different activities for students before classes started in the morning. Students in particular appreciated the fidget toys being handed out Tuesday morning, but also expressed some confusion over why they hadn’t been given out during the first Zen Week.

“I don’t really see why they chose to hand all that stuff out now rather than the previous Zen Week when someone could’ve actually needed it, but I still have seen people using them,” said Iyer. “I went to a peace circle yesterday where someone was using the fidget toy they had gotten so that they could focus better with speaking, and I think it does its job and makes people feel less nervous.”

Despite the mixed reviews of the Zen Weeks, many students are excited to participate in future events and activities planned by the Climate and Culture Team, with some considering ways to improve upon Zen Week one and two.

“The Climate and Culture Team could talk to more clubs to see what clubs can contribute to help events be more successful in the future,” said Chlebek. “If there’s so many clubs working together for a common goal, I feel like we can really have a better experience.”