New school tradition cancels classes for mental health

Point Park University recently announced a new tradition that will cancel classes for a day to help students manage stress.

One student told Campus Reform that the event isn't necessary.

Point Park University (PPU), a private institution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recently announced a new tradition that will give students a day off from classes.

Pioneer Pause” will be held on Oct. 25. It will be an annual mental health day during which students can participate in “wellness activities” and “win prizes,” according to a Sept. 14 email obtained by Campus Reform.

The email was sent by Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Michael Soto.

I’m thrilled to introduce to you a brand-new tradition that will be launched this October: Pioneer Pause, a day when classes take a break and our whole University comes together to push the reset button,” Soto wrote.

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Rather than attend class, students are encouraged to “enjoy an afternoon of stress-relieving activities.” 

“[N]o classes will take place, and with your extra breathing room, we invite you to take part in wellness activities alongside faculty and staff- because we’re in this together,” Soto explained.

Louis Corsaro, Point Park University’s Managing Director of University Marketing and Public Relations, confirmed to Campus Reform that the event will not use student fees. 

“The Pioneer Pause provides a dual purpose. First and foremost, we recognize that the Fall semester can be overwhelming and stressful for both new and returning students,” Corsaro told Campus Reform. “Offering a day for students to decompress, have fun, and get access to information and speakers who can help them develop ways to cope is a step toward dealing with that stress.”

He continued, sharing that PPU "also seeks ways to build camaraderie and a sense of community on our campus, and our hope is that this annual event will help do that.”

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However, not all students are on board for Pioneer Pause.

PPU student Alex Zahniser does not think the tradition is “necessary.”

“Personally, I think that while it sounds like a good way to destress, it’s probably not necessary,” Zahniser told Campus Reform.

He also listed a number of other resources students could take advantage of if they are overcome with stress.

“We have plenty of clubs that students can get involved in, and there are several events the school already holds throughout the year with guest speakers and other fun activities,” Zahniser explained. “So while it’s not necessarily a bad idea, when we have so many other things available, it doesn’t really seem needed.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Office of the Provost for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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