As a part of “Minerva’s Middays,” the Campus Activities and Programs (CAP) held an art station in the EUC Maple room for students to create mini bamboo pots and little vases of sand art. Minerva’s Middays is a weekly program established by CAP to provide the opportunity for students to engage in short activities between classes, usually occurring between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. This window of time allows students to engage with peers, friends and meet new people. Some activities include creating arts and crafts to bring home as well as food trucks around campus, among others.
The arts and crafts station set up in the EUC on Wednesday, Sept. 8, drew in groups of students to take a break from their busy schedules and socialize.
Candice Johnson, one of the graduate assistants for programing in the CAP Office, mentioned that Minerva’s Middays “started a while ago, targeting transfers, commuter students and non traditional students to give them something to do on campus.”
Granted that the events on the weekend are usually attended by those students living on campus, there is a relative disparity in accessibility of campus activities between traditional students (on-campus, full time) and non traditional students, (transfers, part time and/or adult students). While events that occur over the weekend are very much easily targeted for those in the near campus vicinity, in order to promote social and community engagement, programs like Minerva’s Middays are inclusive and conveniently scheduled for all students.
In accordance with the UNCG admissions page, it is also notable to consider that UNCG welcomes around 1,500 new transfer and adult students every year. As a result, activities like this are crucial in terms of social and cultural engagement for those new to the UNCG community.
In line to create first the bamboo pot was Ann Brownlow, a theatre student who commutes to class. Brownlow mentioned that “events like these are awesome because I can’t always be on campus, especially on the weekends. So for them to host activities where we can make something to take home and meet new people in between classes is really refreshing.”
Further, the cost of these events are included in the school fees, thus the need to scan UNCG Student ID’s before entering the crafts room. While speaking to Brownlow and her peers, they also expressed the gratitude of no cash having to come out of their pockets in order to engage, socialize and get involved in the community.
When asked about what type of impact events like these made in the community, another student by the name of Tori Eure said, “Incorporating arts into the community is important, even though it’s in this small way, it’s like a relaxing way to get your mind off classes and work even for just a few minutes.”
As students, sometimes it is hard to organize and find time to engage in activities that incorporate and emphasize on such things as relaxation, arts and crafts and meeting new people in the school environment.
In the EUC’s Maple room, two long tables were set up, one for creating mini pots with bamboo and rocks, and the other for making sand art with colored sand. On the bamboo table, students first picked out mini pots, chose two stocks of bamboo, preferably one tall, one short, as recommended by a helping member of the CAP office.
Once the bamboo was tied together, students could then add little pebbles to the pot and thus have a quaintly sized decoration for their homes or dorm rooms. On the table with the sand, students first took a palm-sized vase, then made layers of different colored sand, creating a rainbow like display.
Though the finished product looked pristine, artistic and maybe even expensive, the materials, save for bamboo, were quite simple and easy to find anywhere. From the pebbles that could be found outside to the mini pots that could easily be replaced by recycled bottles or cups. This was a stimulating process of taking multiple random things and putting them together to create display art that adds intrinsic beauty to a living space.
Socialization at the event was interesting too, as most students came in with their groups of friends and tended to stick to one another. However, those facilitating the event provided useful tips and questions that engaged students, allowing them to also interact with one another as well.