Feeling stressed? Kent State Trumbull creates Mindfulness Walk; Mahoning Matters; May 1, 2021

Mahoning Matters Article May 1, 2021 By: Mahoning Matters staff

WARREN — After a year everyone can agree was stressful, Kent State University at Trumbull is building on its mindfulness initiatives.

The campus recently broke ground on a Mindfulness Walk that will travel along the south side of the classroom/administration building near Lake Anne and the campus’s nine-hole disc golf course. 

The project is being spearheaded by Chris Popadak, the campus’ Kent State of Wellness representative; Barb Ozimek, Kent State Trumbull’s full-time mental health counselor; the Student Nurses Association (SNA); and the grounds and maintenance team. 

Uncertainty of the future and physical, emotional, and financial threats have become the norm during to the coronavirus pandemic, thus prompting the project. Organizers says college students are experiencing additional disruptions with online classes and restricted activities, so it's they hope the Mindfulness Walk will help students not only cope, but succeed.

“We are excited to add the walk to our other initiatives,” Popadak said in a news release. “We are first and foremost here to provide a world-class educational experience; however, we also want to make sure to encourage healthier and more thoughtful life experiences." 

Mindfulness stations will be installed along the walk with landscaping to give walkers a chance to literally and figuratively stop and smell the roses.

The project is expected to be completed by fall. 

Along with a grant obtained through Kent State of Wellness, Kent State Trumbull's SNA raised money over the last year to contribute to the initiative. 

"Many of us are graduating this spring," Brooke Francis, SNA president, said. "Our group thought it was important to leave a legacy and add another outlet for students to reduce stress and live in the moment." 

The Mindfulness Walk will join other wellness initiatives that began in 2017. 

After U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland was on campus in 2016 to speak about mindfulness at the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention’s annual summit, Kent State Trumbull’s Counseling Services and student Psychology Club began developing Flashes of Mindfulness stations around campus. 

At each station, mindfulness instructions guide students through practices to relieve stress, help leave concerns at home and be mindfully present on campus. 

In 2019, Ozimek, the campus's licensed professional clinical counselor, and Popadak helped develop the Zen Den, a space on campus for yoga classes and mindfulness exercises. 

While the Zen Den is closed during the pandemic, Ozimek is offering virtual mindfulness workshops for students, faculty and staff; she recently added a special session for anyone in recovery. 

"Working, going to school, or taking care of families can all be stressful," Ozimek said. "We can all benefit from living in the now and paying attention to our experience of the present moment, which includes our body sensations, emotions and thoughts." 

The Mindfulness Walk, like the disc golf course, will be open to the public.

For any questions about the campus, visit www.kent.edu/trumbull

POSTED: Saturday, May 1, 2021 12:00 AM
Updated: Friday, May 7, 2021 06:36 AM