Students will battle one another with foam swords this afternoon on the East Mall to celebrate the end of the semester and relieve stress before final exams begin.
Foam Sword Friday is hosted by Recreation, a committee under University of Texas Campus Events + Entertainment, and will take place from 12 to 2 p.m.. Students passing by can sign a release waiver, choose from about 250 foam swords and join the festivities. Participants are split into two teams that battle in rounds so students can come and go as they please, Recreation committee publicity officer Karishma Adnani said.
“It’s mostly for stress relief,” said Adnani, a management information systems and business sophomore. “It’s always been on the last day of classes because finals are about to start and everyone’s in a really bad position. You get to do something childish and fun for a few hours, and that’s something everyone needs.”
Undergraduate Architecture Student Council originally created this event, but it did not take place on the East Mall in its early years. Students battled in the crosswalk on Guadalupe Street during red lights until a student was hit by a bus in the spring of 2012. After this unfortunate incident, Recreation took over the tradition and moved the event to a safer location.
In addition to Foam Sword Friday, Recreation recently organized Chillfest, an event featuring activities, therapy dogs, free food and massages to help students cope with stress. Chemistry freshman Izzy Schneider said these fun events are important because stress levels are especially high at this time of the semester.
“It’s probably two of the hardest weeks of the year,” Schneider said. “Events like these force us to take a break and entice us to step away from our computers and chill out for a second. I think it definitely helps in the long run because if you’re too stressed, you’re not going to do well on your finals.”
Recreation committee chair Sean Rose, a radio-television-film senior, said he anticipates the event will have a good turnout.
“We have a set number of swords to give out, so my hope is that we will give all of them out,” Rose said. “It’s a little sad for me because this is the last Foam Sword Friday I can ever participate in. It’s bittersweet...I’ve been here since Recreation has taken it over and now it’s time for me to say goodbye.”