Student Mediators Create Safe Space for School Community

Anna Sperry, Editor/Staff Writer

  Many students have felt burnt out after two years of a pandemic, upcoming exams, and just life in general. The student mediators and libraries noticed this and decided to create a calm space for students to take a mental break during the day. The wellness center is located in the library and is open during lunches. 

  “It’s just another chill, [relaxing] space that we wanted to bring into this school for people that maybe get anxious,” senior Alix Thorington said. 

  The student mediators have organized many things to do to distract students from the stresses in their life. 

  “We have origami down there and puzzles and I think we’re gonna get more crafts available,” sophomore Allison Sheets said. 

  Other than crafts, the wellness center has many things to offer, one of them being student listeners. 

  “[Students can] talk to someone if they need to. Sometimes they might not feel comfortable talking to an adult so having a student your age, just one-on-one communication, not giving advice but just to be an active listener to them can really be helpful,” Sheets said. 

Student mediators set up a fun space for others to hang out during lunch or during free hours. (Photo: A. Sperry)

  There are several reasons as to why the wellness center was created. The student mediators wanted to have another space for students to spend their lunch due to the crowding in the commons and overall noise levels. 

  “We noticed so many people eating lunch on the floor [or] hiding in the bathrooms and stuff so we just wanted somewhere that people could go that is not there,” Thorington said.

  Other than getting people out of the bathroom during lunch, there are some other benefits to adding the new space. 

  “I think just having a place to go where you can trust other students just to either listen or to sit quietly with you,” librarian and mediation advisor, Megan Olsen, said.

  As the news gets out about the wellness center and becomes more popular, the mediators are hoping to expand and create connections within the community.

  “I would like to see it evolve into having guest speakers that come in at the lunch hour and talk about meditation or maybe we could do a morning yoga class here in the library before school starts,” Olsen said.

  Student mediators hope that the wellness center will continue to grow in the coming years, even after the creators have graduated.

  “Hopefully [the wellness center becomes] self-run and it’s not dependent on [the mediators]. Hopefully at some point, if there’s a couple of students that come down every single day then we can just rely on them to keep things [going]. All it needs is someone to make sure crazy things don’t happen, it’s not like a whole big monitored thing,” Thorington said.

  The wellness center is gaining interest at school and the importance of students’ mental health will be seen in the halls.

  “I want students at West to feel comfortable and I don’t want them to have to carry a lot of additional stress and anxiety around in addition to what they have on a daily basis,” Olsen said.