Light of the world: Advent event helps students de-stress before finals

by Samantha Holm | Staff Writer

Regardless of religious background, people need the Advent virtues of peace, love, joy and hope now more than ever. To serve as a reminder of these attributes and provide Whitworthians respite from studying for finals, ASWU held an engaging Advent celebration called Light of the World, which took place on Wednesday, Dec. 10 from 5-7 p.m. in the MPR. 

The event was planned by ASWU’s Spiritual Life Coordinator, junior Rachel Ayres. Supervisor of ASWU, Jason Chapman, said that his role in planning the event was limited to enforcing COVID-19 regulations and ensuring Rachel was prepared. 

 “I love to see Rachel’s vision come to reality,” said Chapman. “As the supervisor for ASWU, it’s super rewarding for me to see her come up with an idea and enjoy that success.” 

The MPR held four stations representing the Advent virtues, each of which included a quick activity for students to complete. As students entered or exited the Hixon Union Building, many stopped by, cycled through each station and picked up a free cookie and cup of hot cocoa.

The activities at each table encouraged introspection and relaxation. At the hope station, students wrote out their resolutions for 2021 on paper pinecones. They created a pinecone ornament to take home at the peace station, before moving to the love station, where they could put together a cup of goodies to give to a loved one. The joy station afforded Whitworthians the gift of volunteerism by writing Christmas cards to low-income individuals in Spokane. 

For the activities at the joy station, ASWU collaborated with the campus ministry group En Christo. En Christo normally delivers sack lunches to Park Towers, a low-income subsidized apartment building in downtown Spokane. Due to COVID-19, though, En Christo cannot participate in this regular mission work. However, the Christmas cards written at the joy station will be mailed to Park Towers’ residents to spread encouragement and Christmas cheer. 

Sophomore Abbie Johnson, the Campus Ministry Coordinator for Stewart, facilitated the joy station. “I love seeing people engage with this table,” Johnson said. “I know it’s not always the most fun thing to write a letter, but people really seem to be interested and excited to write to some residents.” 

The joy station was the busiest table at the event as students thoughtfully and compassionately wrote out well wishes for families in Park Towers. This opportunity allowed students to reflect on themselves whilst giving back to their community — a meaningful and wholesome way to destress before finals week. 

“In a couple of weeks, finals are going to be over,” said first-year Hannah Neuberger, a Light of the World attendee. “Don’t stress out too much.” 

With finals rapidly approaching, students may find it difficult to hold onto motivation and make time for personal well-being. However, this event was a reminder to make space for self-care even amid a stressful point in the semester.