With the global ever-changing pace of the past few months, it seems like almost every form of socializing and social events has been reduced, cancelled or altered in some way. Even though there are numerous things that have changed, one lighthearted concept that has remained constant in our world is national holidays. Nowadays, there seems to be a national holiday for just about anything a person can think of, from donuts to grandparents and now even little hobbies that people participate in.
On Wednesday September 16, the Longwood College of Business and Economics held a small event on campus for National Rock Collecting Day. The Student Advisory Board from the college helped paint rocks along with members of faculty and staff.
Patti Carey, director of Student Engagement and Special Initiatives, stated, "Well, there are so many of these wacky national days. I bought rocks from Lowe's and had people who wanted to paint some rocks. We used to come together, but this year, I gave them rock paint pens to take home. I've learned that not all paint works. I tried spray paint and it didn't work. It's a viral trend, so we just kinda piggy-backed on the idea, and it's to bring happiness to campus."
Before the actual day when students could search for rocks all around campus, 150 rocks were hidden around campus the night before by several of the students, faculty and staff involved.
Since more college campuses are restricted in terms of social events these days, many traditions that rest at the core of what Longwood University is have either been postponed, altered to fit social distancing requirements or cancelled all together. Even though Carey started this idea around a year ago, this even ignited a small, safe way to ignite a little joy into curious students looking to have fun.
When asked about how this event and others like it affect campus morale, Carey further mentioned, "I think it's a positive thing, watching students be excited about finding rocks. I saw two freshmen, and they said they were excited. They found more than two rocks, but they put them back so other children could enjoy that. It's just something fun to do. People were holding their rocks up, hugging their rocks."
The stress of college has a way of weighing itself on the shoulders and minds of students, with or without thinking about the uncertain state of the world. Although social distancing is a tool that helps keep Longwood students healthy on and off campus, figuring out ways to lessen that college stress for mental health is just as vital.
Carey elaborated on the mental health benefits from the event, "Some [rocks] have inspirational sayings on them. I think all of us have found that rock painting is very therapeutic. I'm finding that people are excited about having something fun to do."
In addition to being a stress-reliever, one unique idea that helped pique student interest involved a rock with the words 'Mayor, Town of Farmville' painted on it. The lucky student who would find the special rock would receive a key to the town of Farmville directly from Mayor David Whitus. However the student who ended up finding the mayor rock, Will Watson, a senior accounting major, will not be able to actually open any random Farmville doors with the key.
Carey confirmed, "It's a ceremonial key. It's just for honor. It's an honorable thing to have. It doesn't grant any privileges."
While it may feel like the idea of Longwood University traditions has shifted and been flipped upside down in some cases, social events and mini-celebrations will not be eliminated completely from college life as people know it. Safety and health is important, yet students, faculty and staff all need to remember to focus on their mental health as well. Social events like the rock collecting on campus can help with that.
If you're interested in learning more about this event, look up the hashtag #CBErocks on any social media apps.