There’s no denying that college can be stressful sometimes. But colleges have the means to keep students in a positive, peaceful and productive mindset. While it’s true that loans, grades, workloads and budget living are issues that basically all students face, those enrolled in some American colleges are able to access spaces and facilities that ensure that these issues don’t become unmanageable. And this article is going to highlight the colleges that have the best relaxation installations in the USA.
There’s no one way for a college to install a relaxation facility. And it’s also true that different students like to relax in different ways. Therefore, this list considers a wide range of criteria when selecting something as a relaxation installation or space. It can be through a college’s décor, through dedicated wellness areas, through mindfulness classes and so much more. But one thing unites all of these efforts to relax students: effectiveness. Every college in this list has relaxation techniques that work for its population.
The world still has a long way to go when it comes to making sure that people are relaxed, happy and productive. Colleges, as institutions that are supposed to pave the way for the future, therefore need to lead by example. So it’s not an exaggeration to say that a college’s relaxation facilities go a long way in highlighting how forward-thinking, innovative and impactful it is.
All of the colleges in this list can demonstrate that their relaxation installations are giving students the mindset to succeed in the world. Any one of the 50 colleges below is a perfect choice for a student who wants to know that their college will make an effort in keeping them relaxed. But it’s also possible that none of the colleges in this list is right for you. If that’s the case, then this article can still be a vital resource. Each entry has a summary of what the college is doing to make its students relaxed while they study. And you can use those summaries to compare and contrast with your own college choices. If any of your college options is doing what these colleges are doing, then that’s a strong indication that the college is the best choice for you to enroll in.
As this list has a broad definition of what defines a relaxation installation, we have consulted a range of different sources. Some focus on the unique ways that colleges are relaxing students, while others focus on more conventional college facilities, such as wellness centers. These initial articles were able to provide a strong definition of what a college relaxation installation should achieve.
The initial articles consulted are as follows:
College Magazine, CM’s Top 10 Colleges for Health and Wellness: https://www.collegemagazine.com/cms-top-10-colleges-health-wellness/
College Raptor, 11 Colleges Putting Health & Wellness First: https://www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/student-life/11-colleges-putting-health-wellness-first/
Fast Company, Welcome To The Newest Part Of The College Campus: The Wellness Center: https://www.fastcompany.com/3027431/welcome-to-the-newest-part-of-the-college-campus-the-wellness-center
Time, Napping Around: Colleges Provide Campus Snooze Rooms: https://time.com/3211964/nap-rooms-at-universities/
However, as the sources were not extensive enough to provide a full list of 50 relaxation installation colleges, we later took the criteria of the leading relaxation efforts in those articles and applied it to a range of other colleges in the USA. These colleges were sourced from the following best college lists:
US News, US News Best Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
Niche, 2019 Best Colleges in America: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/
Times Higher Education, Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2019: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/rankings/united-states/2019#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats
The final list is ranked by evidence of facilities that improve a student’s relaxation levels, the number of college relaxation spaces, evidence of innovation in providing relaxation installations and aggregated college ranking on the methodology lists.
The list, from 50 to one is here:
50. Georgia Institute of Technology
The Campus Center at Georgia Institute of Technology is undergoing a major renovation. In summer 2020, it aims to complete phase one of its construction, which will add a cafe and an outdoor fireplace lounge. Phase two of the construction is being planned, but it will definitely add a reflection space, a graduate student lounge, a multi-cultural space and other relaxing features. Currently, there are numerous relaxation opportunities at Georgia Institute of Technology. These include the Mindful Monday: Drop In & Relax sessions, and the Student Mindfulness Book Club.
49. Bates College
As Bates College is based in the beautiful and diverse state of Maine, there are many outdoor and indoor activities happening that relax students. Within their first semester at the college, students can go on college organized trips to art galleries, islands, the Maine coast, local museums, indigenous sites, farms, beaches, mountains and more. And students can either participate in hands on activities, like surfing and bike riding, or just enjoy the views of these destinations! The Bates College campus itself also has an amazing space for relaxing in. Pettengill Hall’s 8,000 square foot atrium has amazing views of Lake Andrews and plenty of areas for unwinding.
48. University of Georgia
College Magazine is highly impressed with the way in which University of Georgia’s counseling center allows students to narrow down its services to something custom made for each student. And on top of this counseling, the college also offers a range of massage therapies to students, including Swedish massages, trigger point therapy and reflexology. Or if a University of Georgia student prefers, they can undertake some free yoga for stress relief classes available on a weekly basis during term time.
47. Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
One of the most effective ways that Dartmouth College’s Student Wellness Center has kept students relaxed is through its programs. These programs are run through a series of workshops. For instance, since 2015, the college has been working with students on ways to build emotional intelligence in a workshop setting. And even though Dartmouth College’s campus has many spaces that are great for relaxing, one of the programs actively takes students from the campus to a renowned retreat center called Kripalu. This retreat happens over four days and three nights during spring break. Many students can also get partial or full scholarships to go on this retreat.
46. Vanderbilt University
Current students at Vanderbilt University have posted numerous updates on the college’s student blog outlining all of the ways that they have relaxed on campus. One student mentions a great event called Create-a-thon where students can relax with materials like paint or charcoal. Another talks about how the college is naturally suited to relaxation, which features like the Commons and tall windows in many of the buildings. Vanderbilt University’s Recreation and Wellness Center also offers a series of presentations called “Life Phase,” which discusses things such as gardening and financial management. These presentations aim to put students’ minds at ease while teaching them important skills.
45. Whitman College
Walla Walla, Washington
Students who enroll in Whitman college get to participate in relaxation activities before they even begin their studies. That’s because, as College Raptor notes, the students are given the opportunity to participate in outdoor Scramble friend making trips before the first year begins. College Magazine notes that over 70 of the college’s students have signed up to an athletic team, meaning that sports is a key part of relaxation in this college. For students who are less active, Whitman College has the Meditation Club, which regularly holds meetings where students practice numerous forms of meditation.
44. Pomona College
Since 1998, students at Pomona College have had the opportunity to relax outdoors on the campus’s organic farm. If a student wants to, they can volunteer to help out with the farming activities, or just enjoy the scenery. And the college uses its beautiful surroundings in Claremont, California for further opportunities for relaxation. Pomona College staff members organize student trips to mountains, lakes, beaches, forests, and much more. These things and more are why Forbes has summed up Pomona College with one word: relaxed.
43. Williams College
In 2005, the Williams College community created its own version of an ancient device for the purpose of walking meditation. It was a 36 foot portable labyrinth made out of canvas. This labyrinth appears in a few places across campus each semester. The installation allows people to take 20 to 30 minutes out of their day to take a reflective walk to its center and back out again. Additionally, every Wednesday, during term time, the Stressbusters converge in one of the college’s coffee bars from 8 pm to 10 pm and offer free back rubs.
42. Spelman College
One of the more unique relaxation practices at Spelman College is vibration sound therapy, where students lie down and listen and feel the vibrations of sound (sometimes with added massaging). And Spelman College is so dedicated to ensuring that students participate in a relaxation event, like sound therapy, that to graduate, a student must take two wellness classes during study. The decision to offer innovative relaxation practices and make wellness activities mandatory came about after the college decided to begin a wellness revolution that would see the college’s athletics budget stretch to every single student.
41. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University says that it has its students’ backs, literally. That’s because it has something called the Stressbusters program on campus. The Stressbusters exist in several college campuses. They are a group of student volunteers who spend time calming other students and staff members in a number of ways, but the main way is through giving back rubs! And if that weren’t good enough, the college’s general health services organize a range of activities that students can access. These include unplugging days and kindness expos! Northern Arizona University’s Health and Learning Center has also successfully brought all of the college’s wellness services under one roof, making them easier to access, according to Fast Company.
40. Johns Hopkins University
When Johns Hopkins University developed a master plan to redefine its campus at the turn of the century, it prioritized its open spaces above all else. Therefore, the exterior of the college had an impressive new face lift. All efforts were made to ensure that the outside parts of the campus are peaceful and relaxing. For instance, wherever possible, planting trees and bushes was favored over fencing. In late 2018, Johns Hopkins University also installed a rejuvenation station, called the Clarity Capsule. This capsule lets students sit quietly in an otherwise busy part of the campus.
39. Wellesley College
One of the most effective ways to use Wellesley College for relaxation is to walk its many different trails. Wellesley College itself has highlighted five different trails outside of its campus that it personally recommends for relaxing students. These trails vary in length from one mile to just over three miles, allowing students to see a wide range of relaxing outdoors imagery. For those who prefer the indoors, then they can take trails through the insides of some of the college’s more picturesque buildings. In addition to this, the college’s chapel and botanic garden both have labyrinths that are designed to relax students as they navigate their way to the centers and back out again.
38. Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California
During term time weekdays, students at Loyola Marymount University can study in a relaxing space called The Living Room. And if they stick around until the evening, then this space becomes an entertainment venue, hosting open mic music, comedy and other fun activities. When Loyola Marymount University reaches finals time, the campus becomes filled with free coffee, puppies, care packages and more for the students to use to relax. On top of this, students are able to access free 15 minute massages, take part in craft sessions and access things like coloring books to unwind. College Raptor names Loyola Marymount University as the fourth best college for health and wellness.
37. University of Colorado, Denver
On Mondays from 3 pm to 4 pm in term time, University of Colorado, Denver runs The Relaxation Station. These are weekly happiness hours with the primary intention of providing free activities that will de-stress students between classes. Activities in this station range from the more physically active yoga and tai chi to the less active knitting and drawing. However, on top of this weekly activity, students at University of Colorado Denver have access to a range of support services and initiatives, such as anxiety management events and peer groups. Fast Company considers the college’s wellness center to be first-rate.
36. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In 2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s library department improved a student’s ability to relax. Instead of opening a relaxation space, it allowed students to create their own relaxation spaces by providing noise canceling headphones, lava lamps, weighted shoulder wraps, aroma therapy diffusers, fidget boxes and more in the college’s library for checking out. Students can borrow this equipment for up to two weeks at a time. In addition to this equipment, MIT medical also offers a range of services that can help students and other members of the MIT community thrive. Some of its offerings include self help programs, support groups and tobacco treatment.
35. United States Air Force Academy
USAF Academy, Colorado
While United States Air Force Academy doesn’t have one dedicated space for relaxation, some facilities are ideal for relaxing people. In 2019, the college’s planetarium opened after a lengthy renovation. This space is filled with comfortable seating and regularly hosts relaxing events, such as musical concerts that take place while space images are displayed on the dome. United States Air Force Base also has a range of relaxing activities in the Arnold Hall social center, with games, movies, entertainers and more on offer.
34. University of Richmond
In 2020, University of Richmond’s relaxation facilities will receive a major boost. In September of that year, it aims to open the Well Being Center, which will have many spaces and features that directly and indirectly lead to the relaxation of students. The space will have a meditation garden; a massage/meditation/lactation room; a quiet lounge with massage chairs, sleep pods and bean bag chairs; pet therapy and a group room. There will also be lounge facilities in the lobby, a cafe, a demonstration kitchen and a patio. Currently, University of Richmond is doing some innovative things to relax students, such as offering free chair massages in the college’s library.
33. Kenyon College
Kenyon College runs the Brown Family Environmental Center, which is a 500 acre nature preserve. Students and the public alike are free to visit this preserve and enjoy the environment. It has trails that stretch over nine miles, serene waters, towering grasses, maple forests, picnic tables and comfortable chairs in designated areas. Kenyon College’s Crozier Center for Women also recently upgraded its main room so that it could be a relaxing space for all of its students. In this room are feminist games, magazines and graphic novels. It also recently installed a new TV with Apple TV in this space.
32. Wesleyan University
Students who want to relax in peace and quiet at Wesleyan University have the opportunity to live in such a space. The college’s Butterfield residence has a whole floor for students who want as much peace and quiet as possible. This floor has a 24 hour quietness policy. The rule is that noise on this floor should always be kept to a minimum and that noise inside a student’s individual room should not be heard outside of it. Wesleyan University’s office of Religious and Spiritual Life also hosts a relaxing spiritual gathering every Wednesday at 5:30 pm. It is designed for both secular and spiritual people to voice any concerns they have and has a vegetarian dinner after each session.
31. University of Pittsburgh
Thanks to the Stress Free Zone, students at University of Pittsburgh have a place where they can relax. This space has both walk in services as well as classes related to relaxation, ensuring that every student’s need is met. The Stress Free Zone is open from 11 am to 8 pm Monday to Thursday and 11 am to 3 pm on Friday. Some of the facilities in this space include audio stations, yoga mats, biofeedback stations, a zero gravity massage chair and a day-light lamp therapy station. College Raptor considers University of Pittsburgh to be the fifth best college for health and wellness.
30. Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
Stress management and relaxation resources can be found across the Yale University campus. For example, the Cushing/Whitney Library has the Wellness Room for meditation, yoga, prayer, stretching, breathing exercises, mindfulness activities and more. Other areas of Yale University offer free drop-in meditation once a week, with each location offering meditation on either Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. On top of this, the Yale Stress Center provides an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction course that implements the center’s cutting edge research.
29. Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The ZSR Library at Wake Forest University has a space called the ZieSta Room, which is intended to give students power naps. It’s located nearby a 24-hour study room, meaning that any student in that space can use it. Inside the ZieSta Room are five reclining chairs for naps as well as lockers to put electronic devices in. In fact, no electronic devices can be used inside the ZieSta Room. Apart from that, the only other rules are no studying, respect other students, limit time in the chairs, be tidy and no monkey business. Wake Forest University also hosts a “Relax and Rejuvenate” event during its Springfest.
28. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Healing Space is managed by University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Carolina Union. Inside the Healing Space are windows that let in lots of natural light, a fireplace, chocolates, a lifelike golden retriever dog model, inspirational quotes on the wall, four large armless comfortable chairs, two ottomans and more. To create this space, students, members of the Carolina Union and college staff members all pitched in their ideas to ensure that the community was getting a space it really needed. University of Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Carolina Union also has a meditation room that prohibits food, drink, electronic devices, photography, excessive noise or any open flames.
27. Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
All a student needs to do to access Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi’s relaxation room is complete a brief orientation. After that, they can access audio relaxation guides, biofeedback programs, recliners, a heated massage chair, yoga equipment, self help books and more. Time also notes that Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi has installed a sleep pod that is less expensive than some of the pods in other American colleges but which is still effective for those who need to take daytime naps.
26. Carnegie Mellon University
Unlike many college relaxation spaces, Carnegie Mellon’s Mindfulness Room is “open 24 hours a day during the fall and spring semesters.” This really ensures that everyone who needs to access this space can do so! Inside this room are plants, a waterfall wall, yoga mats, pillows and comfortable seating. However, there are also some highly unique touches to the room, such as inspirational books that are professor and faculty member favorites, and notes from current students on the wall. At times, this space also hosts pet therapy, and guided meditation.
25. University of Pennsylvania
The Morris Arboretum, a 175 acre public garden, is run by the University of Pennsylvania and allows both students and members of the public the opportunity to relax in its space. Students, staff and faculty are able to get into this space for free with their PennCard. The space is also open every day except New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On weekdays, it opens from 10 am to 4 pm, and on weekends it opens from 8 am to 5 pm. In the summer months, it opens until 8 pm. University of Pennsylvania also has an on campus indoor relaxation room. This room is in the Biomedical Library and offers yoga, coloring, puzzles, stress balls and more.
24. University of Florida
University of Florida claims that “Just thirty minutes at the Mind & Body Center can give you the strength and skills to get through the rest of your day.” As well as meditation, biofeedback and neurofeedback, this center also relaxes students through using virtual reality. However, there are other areas on the University of Florida campus that have relaxation facilities that are just as high tech as those found in the Mind & Body Center. The HSC Library has energy pods that play sleep music and gently wake students through a programmed light and vibration sequence, for example.
23. United States Naval Academy
There’s no denying that naval education can be stressful. That makes it even more important for United States Naval Academy to have facilities that ensure students can relax and stay happy when they need to. The college’s Midshipman Development Center has four different relaxation rooms that any student can take advantage of from Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 4 pm. These rooms contain Flex 3s Massage Chairs, which combine “effective stretching movements with traditional Japanese massage techniques.” There is also a stereo egg chair, which can cancel out most exterior noise, and a Somatron Mattress, which soothes students through combining vibration with music.
22. Washington University in St Louis
St Louis, Missouri
The quietest relaxation space in Washington University in St Louis is the Zen Den. This den currently features two massage chairs and a range of massage therapy services. The chairs are free to use, but the human administered massages cost $30 for 30 minutes, or $55 for 60 minutes. However, the Zenker Wellness Suite is another place that students can use for relaxation and even offers free five minute back rubs. The suite “is a bright serene space,” which aids with the relaxation! For those who like to relax around others, Washington University in St Louis also has the Holmes Lounge, which has a beautiful retro interior and has hosted jazz concerts, art shows, student meetings and more since the 1960s.
21. Bowdoin College
The innovation in relaxation techniques is something that Bowdoin College should be proud of. College Magazine even mentions that the college offers hypnosis to aid with relaxation. College Raptor notes that students can receive acupuncture, if they so wish. Even though Bowdoin College is relatively small, with an enrollment of around 1,800 students a year, its relaxation services are wide ranging. On Wednesdays, the college’s wellness department even offers three different kinds of yoga class! And lastly, the college also has six different kinds of group therapy, allowing five to eight students to meet at one time to discuss things like social skills, grief and mindfulness.
20. University of Texas at Austin
The MindBody Labs at University of Texas at Austin are a truly innovative way to relax people. The Labs have audio and video resources that help students experiment with different relaxation techniques. These guides currently give information on breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation, relaxation imagery/sounds, guided imagery, sleep issues, food issues and more. There are currently three different MindBody Labs across the college’s campus. All of these Labs are open seven days a week and do not require previous appointments. The college also offers chair, table, Thai, pregnancy, hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and hot towel massages. Prices for these massages vary based on the type of massage and the length of massage someone wants. College Magazine names University of Texas at Austin as the 10th best college for health and wellness.
19. Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
In 2018, Colorado State University installed a state-of-the-art relaxation pod on campus. This pod allows students to relax in a dark space in a chair that softly vibrates while calming music plays. But of course, a single relaxation pod is not enough to calm all of the college’s students at once. Therefore, the pod is located in the Still Point Reflection Space, which has a range of relaxing features. In this space, students must be silent, remove footwear and not use cell phones. Once inside, students can access technology that allows them to monitor their heart and brain activity. College Raptor names Colorado State University as the second best college for health and wellness.
18. Claremont McKenna College
The Relaxation Room at Claremont Mckenna College is just one of the facilities that students can access for de-stressing. Inside this room, students will find a massage chair, massage tools, aromatherapy, coloring and more. This room is available without an appointment. On top of this, there is the McAlister Center that has a range of rooms that are designed to be relaxing to students. These include the meditation chapel, community room, library and lounge. International students who attend any of the Claremont colleges also have their own lounge for relaxation.
17. Rice University
For many years, Rice University has allowed students to snuggle with therapy dogs and cats in its Fondren Library. But this is really just scratching the surface of the things that the college does to relax students. College Magazine commends the range of activities that it offers to students, such as beach camping trips. However, a Rice University student doesn’t need to go all the way to the beach to unwind. The college has installed all sorts of relaxing features across the campus, such as hammocks, which have been a fixture since 2016. But a more proactive solution to relaxing students is the “Wellness” program at the college’s recreation center, which offers things such as Nirvana sessions, letting students meditate on pews, cushions or the floor.
16. University of Virginia
The Contemplative Sciences Center at University of Virginia hosts a range of classes whose purpose is relaxing students. These range from the more typical yoga sessions to the more unique events, like group contemplation lessons and 30 minute mindful recharge sessions. They even have interesting twists on typical yoga, such as yoga in a candlelight session. In addition to these lessons, the center also runs a network of resiliency spaces across the University of Virginia campus. All of these spaces are technology free so students can really relax.
15. Carleton College
The Jo Ryo En Japanese garden on Carleton College’s campus is one of the most relaxing exterior installations of any college in America. It was created by David Slawson, who studied under one of Japan’s foremost garden designers, Kinsaku Nakane. The garden is also designed from rocks that come from within a 100 mile radius of the college’s campus. Carleton College’s Weitz Center for Creativity has many inspiring and relaxing interior spaces, from galleries to the commons, to the IdeaLab.
14. University of California, Berkeley
“Wellness Week,” where students take part in meditation, Frisbee on the lawn and other relaxing activities is what has led College Raptor to name University of California Berkeley as the third best college for putting health and wellness first. But the college has many installations that ensure that students can relax year round. One students lists Sproul Plaza, Telegraph Avenue, Memorial Glade and Moffitt Library as spaces that are filled with culture, hammocks, nap pods and many more things to keep people contented.
13. Hamilton College
Clinton, New York
Even though Hamilton College’s campus is relatively small, it still has many amazing spaces for relaxation. Recently, one student highlighted five lesser used relaxation areas across the college. These include the third floor of the chapel, which often hosts events; The Afro-Latinx Cultural Center; The Days-Massolo Center, which has a fully stocked kitchen and hosts activist events as well as being a relaxation hub; the Schambach Second Floor, which is filled with sofas, seats and tables and frequently has musicians performing; and the First Floor of Beinecke, which has amazing natural light and views. Hamilton College also has the Wellness Room with a state-of-the-art massage chair and biofeedback equipment. And if this weren’t good enough, students can also access the Creative Art Therapy Space and Meditation Room.
12. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana
The Inner Resources Room at the University of Notre Dame has many great relaxation facilities. The most unique of these is a negative ion generator. This device has a metal wrist strap that sends high density negative ions into the body. High density negative ions have been proved to improve moods, reduce mood disturbance and alleviate depression and anger. The Inner Resources Room also has a massage chair and recliner, biofeedback equipment, a light box, a zen timepiece and much more. University of Notre Dame’s McDonald Center also has three rooms that students can reserve for relaxation. The Break Room has games, knitting and napping facilities. The Living Room has a soothing fireplace. And The Fort is filled with plants and has a wall projector that is connected to the Calm Meditation app.
11. Middlebury College
Students at Middlebury College can currently access six different spaces across the campus to engage in meditation and other relaxing practices. However, the college’s faculty have been proactively making the campus and the courses more mindful since 2015. In that year, the college allocated funding for contemplative practices in course curriculums, mindfulness outside of the classroom and more. This has resulted in a range of proactive programs, such as the Relaxation & Meditation Group, which meets every Thursday in one of the college’s lounges.
10. Saint Leo University
St. Leo, Florida
In 2012, the relaxation services at Saint Leo University were massively improved. That’s because the college opened a new residence hall with nap pods, a 2,100 gallon aquarium and arcade games. Although these facilities were housed in one residence hall, the relaxation spaces were open to all students. In addition to this area, the college’s lakefront is also a relaxing space, where students can take kayaks, canoes and paddleboards on the water. From the shore, students can fish, play lawn games or just enjoy the ambiance. Lastly, the college’s campus sprawls across 215 acres, offering plenty of green space. Time notes that some Saint Leo University students use the nap pods on campus every single day.
9. University of Missouri
College Magazine makes a strong case for University of Missouri having everything a student needs to relax. For instance, it has a room with a wellness library, comfortable chairs and a jungle surrounding a “Tiger Grotto” that is designed to make people feel like they’re on vacation. It also has a spa with massage, yoga and Pilates services. College Raptor also praises the college’s spa. Not only are University of Missouri’s relaxation installations available to students, but students are actually rewarded for using them. In the college’s 2019 Wellness Incentive, students who participate in mindfulness activities are awarded points that convert into up to $450 in cash.
8. James Madison University
The Counseling Center at James Madison University runs two spaces for self care that students can access for no charge. These are named The Oasis and The Studio. The Oasis is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. It has Yoga equipment, water features, biofeedback software, iPads with relaxation apps, massage chairs, noise canceling headphones and more. The Studio, as its name suggests, offers more creative relaxation options. It is open from 10 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday. Students can create with paints, canvasses, clay, pens, pencils, crayons, fabric and much more. However, the college also runs several more spaces for relaxation beyond the Counseling Center. It has a meditation room on the fourth floor of the Madison Union, which always has a range of events running. Lastly, James Madison University also has the Nap Nook in the Festival Conference and Student Center. This space is filled with beanbags that give students the opportunity to take 40 minute naps. The Nap Nook opened in 2013, and Time notes that in one academic year, students took 2,500 naps in this space.
7. Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, Massachusetts
There are currently seven quiet contemplative spaces located across the Mount Holyoke College campus. Each space has its own charm. The Japanese Teahouse & Meditation Garden, Wa-shin-an, is an incredibly beautiful space. The Abbey Interfaith Sanctuary has a sacred labyrinth for relaxed walking. Eliot House Lounge is colorful and filled with comfortable seating. The 6,000 foot Talcott Greenhouse dates back to 1896. In addition to this, there are two relaxation rooms named Moasis, one of which has a massage chair and soothing water fountain. Lastly, there are Hindu and Muslim prayer rooms. Mount Holyoke College also lists dozens of relaxing spaces near the campus.
6. Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
Duke University has highlighted its five most relaxing spaces on campus. All of them have their own unique appeal. One of these is the Duke Cancer Center Quiet Room, which hosts classes on meditation and tai chi. The other offerings are all outdoors. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens sprawl over 55 acres and has trails, ponds and many quiet spots. The Stagg Pavilion is a gazebo that has been in the same place since 1902. Duke Forest, which covers 7,052 acres, has the Rhododendron Bluff. Lastly, the Murphy-Nimocks Meditation Garden allows students to relax on hanging egg shaped chairs. Not mentioned in that list is also Duke University’s Oasis Perkins room, which is in the Perkins library. This room contains yoga equipment, meditation cushions, origami paper, puzzles, coloring books, essential oil sprays, a neck massager, books and more. There are also three smaller wellness spaces on campus.
5. Emory University
There are 10 different quiet spaces situated across the Emory University campus. These include both indoor and outdoor areas where students are free to unwind without the hustle and bustle of college life affecting them. Students who want a more hands on approach to relaxation are able to participate in a four week long stress clinic series of classes. These classes use biofeedback equipment to create custom stress management plans. On top of this, every year for the past 35 years, Emory University has allowed students to go on a weekend fall retreat at the Athens Y Camp, which has guest speakers, games, swimming and free time opportunities for students.
4. Stanford University
Of all of the relaxation resources at Stanford University, the Windhover center is the most accessible. This is a building and outdoor space that “provides an environment for quiet reflection throughout the day for Stanford students, faculty, and staff.” The building itself has been designed simply to facilitate meditative thought. Outside, there is a reflection pond, a bamboo grove, an old oak grove and a labyrinth. For students who need more proactive help in relaxing, there is also the Center for Integrative Medicine. This center combines mental, nutritional, acupuncture and lifestyle treatments with more typical therapy and medical practices. The center specifically treats a range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, phobias and fatigue. College Magazine ranks Stanford University as the ninth best college for health and wellness.
3. Davidson College
Davidson, North Carolina
Despite being a tiny college with an enrollment of around 2,000 students, Davidson College is filled with relaxation resources. There are four different spaces across the campus specifically for the purpose of meditation and reflection. One of these is The Oasis, which is open every day from 7 am to 11 pm and offers amazing views of the outside. The Nest has a six foot long beanbag chair, zafu cushions, yoga mats and more. The Davidson Labyrinth is a 24 hour relaxation garden that is lit at night. And The Meditation Sunroom is, as the name suggests, filled with natural light in the day and has meditation cushions. In addition to these on campus spaces, Davidson College also has The Lake Campus, which is seven miles away from the main campus. This campus is for students to use to swim, play volleyball, picnic, boat and do other relaxing activities. And if this weren’t good enough, the college will also open some new relaxation spaces in 2019.
2. University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, Maryland
There are 12 recreation centers across the University of Maryland, College Park campus, according to College Magazine. Impressively, most of these centers have outdoor or indoor pools. College Raptor also discusses the college’s Wellness Hut, which offers every single student a safe area for questions and guidance. However, students who need a more proactive approach to relaxation and stress management can find plenty of resources at college’s health center. In this building, stress management consultations are available from 9 am to 3 pm on Monday and Wednesday and from 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Even better, available every weekday is relaxation training from 9 am to 5 pm. The college health center also offers therapy dogs on one day of the week for the first three weeks of every month. But if all of that doesn’t appeal to a student, they can participate in a range of other activities hosted by the Division of Student Affairs, such as group meditation, Wind Down Wednesdays and s’mores while studying sessions.
1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Reflection Rooms can be found all over University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s campus. In fact, the college’s directory lists 17 different spaces just for reflection. These have varying resources and opening hours, with some being accessible 24/7. However, on top of reflection spaces, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also has The Wellness Zone, which has massage chairs, meditation tools, light therapy, an Xbox Kinect system and more resources. But sometimes, places that aren’t designated relaxation spaces on the college’s campus become temporarily dedicated to de-stressing. One place is the college’s planetarium, which lets students sit down, relax, listen to beautiful music and see breathtaking sights. And if all that weren’t impressive enough, Time notes that University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also has six napping stations that are available 24/7.
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