Melissa Herman

Marketing junior Collin McLaughlin plays with legos as sociology junior Emily Smith colors as a part of the University’s Chill Fest. The Chill Fest was held inside the Texas Union ballroom and included free stress relieving activities for students such as massage chairs and pet therapy dogs. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Students had the opportunity to unwind by building Lego houses and popping bubble wrap Monday in the Texas Union ballroom for ChillFest. 

The event, planned as a respite from the last week of classes and upcoming finals, also featured massage chairs, pet therapy dogs and other stress relieving activities.  

Students, such as undeclared sophomore Haleigh Hoebener and elementary education sophomore Katherine Mazanek, made aromatherapy bottles to spray on their pillows by adding drops of their favorite scent to spray bottles filled with water.

Hoebener said ChillFest made the campus seem more personal. 

“It brings everyone together during a stressful time,” Hoebener said.

Therapy Pet Pals of Texas Inc. also brought therapy dogs to the ballroom. Studies have shown that therapy dogs reduce stress, lower blood pressure and contribute to other positive factors of well-being, the corporation said. Students also colored and frosted their own Texas-shaped cookies, while others waited in line to use the massage chairs.

ChillFest replaced last year’s Stressfest, which had similar relaxing activities. 

Campus Events + Entertainment, which is the newly branded event-planning arm of the University Unions, hosted the event. Melissa Herman, American studies senior and the group’s vice president of publicity, said the event was designed to be a way for students to relax before finals. 

“In previous years, the Counseling and Mental Health Center hosted Stressfest, but unfortunately they weren’t able to do it this year,” Herman said. “We wanted to make sure students still felt supported during finals week in terms of stress management.” 

Herman said the biggest difference this year was the number of resources that came from outside the University, such as relaxation specialists and fortune tellers.

Daniel McGinty, Middle Eastern languages and cultures junior, said he relaxed by building with Legos around a table in the ballroom. 

“It’s important to get out of your routine and do something to take your mind off of everything,” McGinty said.