IMU events ease finals woes

BY BEN MARKS | DECEMBER 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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The IMU will once more hold its traditional Finals@IMU, a series of events and activities such as yoga, massage chairs, coffee, and healthy snacks designed to help worn-down college students make it through finals.

This semester, however, will bring a few changes.

Every year, Bret Gothe, the director of IMU Marketing and Design, who helped to plan the event, said officials give students a survey to fill out regarding their experiences of the finals event at the IMU.

This year, he said, some changes to the programming have been made based on those surveys.

“It’s really important for us to get student input so we can be better at meeting what is useful to you all during finals,” he said. “And one thing we heard from students is that they want those opportunities available to them throughout the week.”

Tyler Hackman, the marketing representative for Marketing and Design, said that last year, the late-night-event block only ran from Sunday through Thursday.

“However, what we found was [that] a lot of students had left by the time Thursday night came, while the building was very busy on Saturday,” he said.

To deal with this, Hackman said, officials simply shifted the events from Sunday through Thursday to Saturday through Wednesday.

“We hope this will reach out to more students,” he said. “We’re hoping it proves successful.”

In addition to shifting the events, Hackman said, they also altered the times of the individual events to better coordinate with students’ schedules.

“We’ve historically given out coffee at 1 or 2 in the morning,” he said. “And we found a recurring theme in feedback that they wanted it earlier, so we bumped it up to 11 p.m.”

A few years ago, Hackman said, finals programming didn’t start until late at night, but officials discovered that a bulk of students studied in the IMU during the day.

In response to that demand, officials began the “Flippin’ into Finals” pancake breakfast a year and a half ago, which Hackman said really made the numbers skyrocket.

In the following semesters, the IMU began offering yoga as well as a “healthy snack” program in the morning and evening.

“The trend we found is that during the day people want to do more healthy study breaks like yoga,” he said. “They want to eat fruit and things, and we found when it gets later, closer to crunch time they just want candy or pop.”

Hackman said the healthy-snack program was so successful last semester that this year the IMU has doubled the amount of fruit to hand out.

In total, Hackman said, attendance has shot up dramatically.

Last fall, 391 students participated in “Cabs and Caffeine.” In the spring, that number had climbed to 750.

UI senior Devynn Paulsen said her favorite finals service the IMU offers is the coffee, and she said she really appreciates that it was moved to earlier in the night.

“I stay here for a long time during finals week, and as the night goes on, I get more unproductive until 1, when I could have my coffee,” she said. “But now I can be more productive earlier in the night.”

UI junior Caitlyn Strack said she’s done almost all of the events the IMU offers, and she really appreciates how they promote healthy studying with yoga, massage chairs, and the fruit.

Junior Willy Tan agrees with her.

“It’s way better than stress-eating high-end carbs like chips and queso,” he said.

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