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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Wellness Lounge creates a relaxing space at LRC

Rachel Cormier
Bianca Galicia (left), a senior non-profit and NGO studies major chats with friend, Itzel Sanchez, senior and NGO studies major in the Latino Resource Center Wellness Lounge. The LRC held the opening of its Wellness Lounge at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Students at NIU’s Latino Resource Center have a new room to rest, relax or even take a nap in.

The LRC is one of three resource centers at NIU that have added a Wellness Lounge, spaces which are meant to help students unwind and destress.

“We were able to provide, at the end of the mid-to-end of the fall semester, resources like this for the wellness space to the Latino Resource Center, undocumented students and the Center for Black Studies,” said Aubrey Hense, associate director of Student Wellness.

The lounges were funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief grant, a federal fund directed toward the retention of low-income, underrepresented or first-generation students. 

Every Wellness Lounge includes furniture, booklets and toys for recreational and relaxation purposes.

A lamp with outlets sits on a table next to multicolored fidget toys. The Latino Resource Center’s Wellness Lounge offers recreational and mental health resources to visitors. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star) (Rachel Cormier)

Elbia Del Llano Menéndez, assistant director of the Latino Resource Center, said she consulted students to recommend personal items related to the LRC for the lounge.

“We asked a lot of students throughout the semester, last semester, ‘if you can have anything, what is something that would bring you peace, what is something that gives you relaxation?’” Menéndez said.

The answer was board games, bean bags, mental health resources and, most notably, a hammock. 

Students arrived to celebrate the lounge’s opening around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Hector Dondiego, a graduate student, complimented the room’s interior which he said made the space inviting and comfortable.

“What really popped out to me was, like, the colors and then the walls, like the wall paint, it’s very nice and bright,” Dondiego said. “It’s a space that I actually want to be in.”

The former graduate student office is now painted turquoise with fairy lights and flowers along the wall. The room includes four bean bag chairs and a hammock that can be used for resting and even naps.

“You can take a nap there, please don’t fall off because we’re gonna be in trouble,” Luis Santos-Rivas, director of the LRC, joked with students.

Fidget toys and charging outlets are also available, along with an entire bookshelf dedicated to adult coloring books, board games and mental health resources.

Elbia Del Llano Menéndez, assistant director of the Latino Resource Center explains the book checkout system for the LRC’s Wellness Lounge. Students can check out books and sound-proof headphones from the lounge by going to the LRC’s front desk. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star) (Rachel Cormier)

The LRC plans to have Spanish-translated copies of the books in the future, which will also be available at the Undocumented Student Resource Center.

Daniel Arenas Perez, an NIU graduate and member of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, said he hopes to use the space for fraternity meetings, but is glad to see a new space in the LRC.

“I feel like for our organization, this (Latino Resource Center) has always been our home,” Perez said. “We have always had chapter here, we always kind of meet over here for most things, so it’s kind of nice to see it renovated.”

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