May 6, 2022 | NEWS | By Leigh Walden
On Tuesday, May 3, some classes were completely empty as faculty and students alike joined together in the second rendition of the campus pause, one instigated and organized by the student body in collaboration with the Colorado College Student Government Association. This pause was a moment for some students to rest, reset, and reflect as this academic year comes to a close.
The idea for a campus-wide pause has been widely discussed for a long period of time. In the spring of last year, CCSGA advocated for two school wide mental health days between mid-April and the end of Block 8. The proposal was denied by faculty, who cited “the disproportionate impacts on students in prerequisite classes, difficulty in finding a day that worked for all classes, and the worry of shifting around syllabi so quickly,” per an email from then incoming Student Body President Deksyos Damtew.
While the work for a mental health day started as a response to a crisis for some, this work has since transitioned into a conversion about how Colorado College can best support students by offering mental health time throughout the block. It’s also sparked conversations about CC’s climate surrounding productivity and work, especially as it pertains to some feeling like they always need to be busy.
In the document CCSGA distributed entitled “Pause Day Demands,” CCSGA outlines their goals for this moment. Among them, they say “We want to create some modicum of true solidarity around this problem and gain support around policy changes.” The document also cites CC’s only official campus time of rest which was given on the first Monday of Block 7, immediately following spring break. This pause time was only 45 minutes long for most students and replaced the time the first Monday speaker was supposed to fill.
The pause time was not the initial plan for that first Monday, but the apparent result of the first Monday speaker canceling their talk. To this point, CCSGA wrote, “we wanted systemic policy change. We wanted our mental health recognized in all aspects of our education. We really wanted to involve everyone on campus. What we got was 45 minutes of free time already allocated for most students not to be in class.”
This Tuesday was noteworthy for several reasons: it was a time where a day-long campus-wide pause was well advertised and encouraged by some students and faculty alike, it was led by students, and it was one of the largest school-wide acknowledgments of CC’s culture surrounding overwork and mental health.
Students used this pause time in a lot of different ways.
“I had class, but I didn’t go.,” said Lenny Lorenz ’25. “I went on a trip to a place I love and filled my metaphorical cup.” Filling metaphorical cups seems to be an underlying theme for a lot of students who took part in the pause.
For others, however, this pause time wasn’t spent in a way they had intended it to. A sophomore said they used this time as “a moment of respite, especially considering all the news this week,” referring to the leaked draft of the Supreme Court repealing Roe v. Wade. “Seeing all that broke on Wednesday night I needed to stay in bed yesterday and just have my feelings and it was fortunate that I could do that without feeling guilty.”
This pause gave other students the time to do errands they’d been putting off for a while.
“When the initial email was sent out, I knew this was a sign for me to just finally go in and get it done,” said a first year student who wished to stay anonymous. “I used the pause time to go get a pap smear.” For this student, cervical cancer runs in their family and they just hadn’t found the time to do it throughout other blocks.
However, some classes still didn’t give students the time off. Luca Keon, who is in an ecology class, says their teacher offered them the chance to have the day off but the students decided not to take it. “As we had already had one day off because of unexpected problems that my professor had to deal with, we just didn’t have time to take another day off,” said Keon. “I support the idea of the pause but it’s more difficult in STEM classes because having a scheduled day off can end up taking away some flexibility to move the schedule around… I think that the organizers need to keep in mind the range of needs that come with different classes and different fields.”
The future of CC’s pause is still unclear, but CCSGA intends to continue on with this work next year. For the students who found the pause on Tuesday helpful, there may come a time where you are able to take a break without the outside impetus of student government.