CSI’s Newest Club Has the Potential to be a Life-Changer
By Brielle Sparacino
College is tough. Most of us are full time students who are also balancing jobs or internships, and some of us are also taking care of our own families at home.
“Methods like meditation, yoga, [and] mindfulness practices are all simple and healthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety,” said Alicia Liow, student and founder of CSI’s Zen Club. “While also building self-awareness and confidence in the individual.”
Whether or not you tend to stress out about situations easily, everyone is subjected to some form of pressure. For the individuals who deal with stress and anxiety more frequently, there are numerous amounts of anti-anxiety medications on the market.
If you’re uncomfortable with taking a pill to cope with stress, attending CSI’s brand new Zen Club might be the perfect solution for you.
According to the definition on Oxford Dictionary.com, the word “Zen” is “a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures.”
While the ancient art of Zen has been practiced regularly in China and Japan for centuries, it has managed to spread to the Western hemisphere quite rapidly, as well as having made a significant impact on the lives of many, such as Alicia Liow.
Liow is a junior at CSI and the creator of the Zen Club. The Banner had the opportunity to interview her and get her input on the art of Zen, as well as her reasons for starting this type of club on campus.
“I’m an avid fan of holistic methods for dealing with stress and anxiety, and noticed there wasn’t any presence of a lifestyle club [at] CSI that promotes well being of the individual,” said Liow.
Liow says that the club’s mission is to promote, educate, and practice holistic methods towards individual well being through meditation, self awareness, creativity, and healthy lifestyle choices. Liow also shared the club’s tentative motto, which is “A better world starts with a better individual.”
According to Liow, the permanent club space is “undecided at the moment,” but the club’s website zencsi.com is updated regularly. The club also has an Instagram account, @zenatcsi. They have been holding their interest meetings in 2N 110, right by the Bertha Harris Women’s Center, for the past two weeks.
There is a demand for natural stress-coping clubs on campus. According to HealthLine, 44% of college students report having depression symptoms during their undergrad years. Liow, and other faculty advisors of the club, hope that students feel comfortable reaching out for help and making the club a weekly “safe place.”
“I want our members to know they have a safe, non-judgmental, accepting space at the Zen Club,” said Liow. “They can let go of their life stressors or anxieties through the work and practices that we will all learn together.”
Liow’s passion for using natural methods of de-stressing started in her younger years. Her mother, who practiced Feng Shui for well over 15 years, had a daily meditation and yoga routine.
“She saw me struggling with anxiety and depression and introduced me to the holistic world of healing through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, etc,” said Liow. “I feel that so many of us are over-medicated when we don’t need to be.”
Liow hopes to take her knowledge and put it to good use. She wants students take what they learn at the club and apply it to other areas and communities of their life.
The desks were arranged in a semi-circle with a small table at the front of the room filled with pita chips, hummus, vegetables, and Liow’s homemade “Zen” juice.
A lavender scent filled the room, thanks to a portable air purifier, and soothing music played throughout the room. After everyone went around the room and introduced themselves, Liow told the new members of the club what the purpose of Zen Club was, and what each member could be expected to learn from it.
The 2:30PM meeting ultimately turned into a game of Cards Against Humanity to break the ice with one another. It received positive feedback from all that showed.
Potential members of the Zen club claim the club has an amazing potential to change individuals and their lifestyles for the better. Keep a lookout for the debut of this club that has a strict focus on happiness and fulfillment on their journeys to positive self-discovery.