April 8, 2022 | ACTIVE LIFE | By Alexis Cornachio
It’s around 2:00 p.m. on one of the first warm days on campus and you’re walking across Tava Quad. You’re caught off guard when a frisbee flies across your face and swiftly into the hands of one of the lawn game Olympians. In the middle of the quad, there’s a group of first years huddled around a spike-ball net, diving and leaping to make sure the bouncy yellow ball doesn’t hit the grass.
Under the trees you find a fort of hammocks and students sprawled out on tarps soaking in the sun. They are all leisurely reading a book or taking a nap. There’s a slackline linking two trees, where a couple of students have gathered around to watch their friends shakily walk across. Some hold guitars in their hands, others paintbrushes and watercolors. It looks like these students came out of a catalog for the ideal college campus.
Everyone notices there is a shift in the energy of Colorado College’s campus once springtime rolls around in Colorado Springs. In part, the energy on campus probably has to do with a change in students’ moods and mental health as the weather gets warmer.
I spoke with a couple of CC students about their perspectives on how the weather affects mental health and the atmosphere on campus.
Jake Davidson ’23 opened up to me about his seasonal affective disorder which negatively impacted his mood during his high school years, back when he lived in Chicago.
“It’s like super gray and cold in Chicago for the entire winter and the winters are way longer, and I was always just super sad,” said Davidson. “Then, coming here and just having the sun shine, even if it’s not that warm, makes a huge difference in my mood. It’s way harder to be sad when it’s so sunny out.”
Anna Mackey ’24 enjoys laying under the sun on a warm day because it brightens her mood and improves her overall mental health.
“I definitely say I’m a layer. I lay. I love to bring a speaker out, maybe bring a book, maybe bring some homework,” said Mackey. “It just brightens my mood. I feel healthier. I feel fuller. I feel more productive… I don’t have to be doing anything; I just need to absorb the weather because the weather is so important.”
Colorado College encourages students to be active and gain a deep sense of appreciation for the outdoors and the environment. This love for the outdoors is a major draw for potential CC students. For New Student Orientation this year, outdoor education gave out cradle chairs, outdoor blankets, and hammocks to all the incoming students. This action perfectly symbolizes how the school is a major proponent of the outdoors and represents the importance of the outdoors for a lot of the students and the community.
Maddy Meister ’25 and her friends often make hammock forts under a cluster of trees and hang out when the weather is nice. I asked Meister about what her hammock means to her.
“Hammocks are a great way to enjoy sitting in the outdoors and not worry about getting grassy. It’s less flat and supports your back in a nice way,” said Meister.
Meister said that spending time in hammocks with friends can be a spiritual experience.
“It’s a nice place to socialize. It makes you really relaxed and feels like you’re being cradled,” she said. “It’s like you’re just a little baby again and nothing matters except the two trees holding you up. And like being above the earth but also like connected to it. When you’re inside, your world becomes inside and when you’re outside, your world becomes outside.”