Hampton University students made sure to make their voices heard as they braced the frigid temperatures to carry out their civic duty on Election Day, Nov. 2. The shuttle picked up students at the university’s Student Center at the top of every hour, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and drove them to the nearest polling station at Phoebus High School.
While the inclement weather deterred many potential voters, others stayed to exercise their right to vote and remain active members of their community.
“It’s always important to vote when you can,” third-year HU journalism major Nicholas Lewis said.
Lewis mentioned that he kept up with current events by reading from multiple news sources to come to an informed decision on who he believed would make the best candidate.
Lewis thinks politicians must possess integrity, trustworthiness and an excellent moral compass to be a great candidate. This election was not Lewis’ first as he has remained an active voter since 2018.
Alexis Young, a first-year political science student at Hampton, believes gubernatorial elections are crucial.
In Virginia, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe to become the commonwealth’s next governor.
“Since Virginia is a swing state, a lot of people including myself think that the state determines how other, more important elections will turn out, as well as a good way to tell how the political climate is changing in the country,” Young said. “By voting, I wanted to send the country a message about how I feel with the political and social climate.”
“I decided [who to vote for] by looking at news articles and my local news stations. Also, I kept up with how others felt and what direction the election was going in.”
Young mentioned that she believes a candidate who values mistreated communities, improves Virginia’s social climate and is honest and fair with their supporters determines whom she will vote for. This was Young’s first time voting.
“I haven’t been keeping up with the election as much as I would like to, but I have been keeping up a bit,” said Angela Darden, a second-year HU cybersecurity student.
Darden believes a great candidate should always strive to achieve equality for all and keep the world’s best interest at heart when making decisions.
For many students at Hampton University, returning to in-person learning was a huge relief after being remote for over a year. However, after a couple of months of being back, some are still struggling to adjust to campus life.
Nina Pinto, a senior Psychology Pre-Med major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says it has been a weird adjustment so far, which has made it very stressful for herself and many of her peers.
“I feel the student in a lot of people died in March of 2020, so getting back into the habit of going to classes and the workload is hard,” Pinto said. “I really have to put that effort in now that wasn’t enforced for like an entire year.”
Hampton University quickly shifted to remote learning in March 2020, after sending students home because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic. For almost 14 months, students attended classes online.
With the rollout and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country, Hampton reopened the campus in August for the 2021 fall semester for in-person learning to students who were fully vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID-19.
In the first weeks of October, students already have experienced Homecoming week, with midterms immediately following. Pinto feels as though the school year is quickly progressing.
“At least from my point of view, I feel like Hampton is almost trying to recreate what was the normal academic experience, when in actuality, it has changed a lot,” Pinto said.
To help students adjust to this new normal, Pinto believes wellness days should have been implemented into this semester to help with the burnout she and many of her peers are currently dealing with.
“Post homecoming and midterms week, we were burnt out. I’m still burnt out,” Pinto said. “Wellness days back at home were great because it was a time to decompress from looking at a screen the entire day. However, I think they are needed now more than ever because we are trying to adjust to a new normal. So for us to not even be able to have the opportunity to take a break, it’s overwhelming.”
Last year during remote learning, the Student Government Association (SGA) implemented wellness days to address the students’ mental health concerns. SGA, in tandem with Hampton administration, scheduled a few days throughout the semester for no classes, advising students to take the time to focus on their well-being.
Pinto suggested that aside from wellness days, a possible fall break should have been considered.
“It’s really sad, but a lot of students are like, ‘I really need a break,’” Pinto said. “People, myself included, are very overwhelmed. I feel like maybe even just a four-day weekend for a fall break would have really helped alleviate stress and helped students get caught up a little.”
Madison Davenporte, a freshman Marketing major from Atlanta, Georgia, says that being new to Hampton as a first-year, along with the pandemic, has been a huge adjustment for her.
“This is my first time in college,” Davenporte said. “I spent pretty much my entire last year of high school online. So not only am I adjusting to getting back to being in person, but I’m adjusting to college life as well, so I would say it’s a lot harder and has been a challenge for me.”
Davenporte says the most challenging part of adjusting to campus life has been the fast-paced environment at Hampton this semester.
“Being online, the workload wasn’t as heavy,” she said. “However, now being in-person, I have such a heavy workload. It’s like once I’m done with something, there’s always something else that’s due right after.”
The lack of socialization during quarantine also played a role in Davenporte’s stress this semester, which she said made it difficult at first to be social and meet new people.
“Learning remotely, I got so used to being in my room all day that I’ve lost that social aspect,” Davenporte said. “So actually being here in person, it was harder getting out and meeting people than it normally would be.”
Davenporte thinks the administration should allow the student body to have more campus activities to help everyone get used to getting back to normal as much as possible.
“I understand that the school is being cautious of campus events and activities because they don’t want to have to close the campus down again, but a lot of our freshman class lost most of our senior year, and we feel like we’re losing some of our freshman year, too,” she said.
Davenporte said that many campus events and activities students had proposed or planned at the beginning of the semester were turned down.
Now that administration and student activities are allowing more and more to occur, she feels like it’s already late into the semester but is still hopeful for more campus activities soon.
“It just takes time to get used to,” Davenporte said.
Carr Couture Boutique was launched in June 2021 from the fashion-driven mind of Lillian Carr, a Hampton University sophomore. Carr’s inspiration for the launch of her boutique came from her interest in the fashion industry and her background as a Strategic Communication major.
“I got the fashion inspiration from different boutiques that I admire as well as people within the fashion industry, vendors that I enjoy looking at on social media and other platforms that really produce fashion,” Lillian Carr said.
Carr Couture Boutique is an online boutique that specializes in clothing for women of all ages.
“Carr Couture is a place for fashionistas who dare to be different,” Carr said. “Carr Couture is not just a boutique, it’s a brand. It’s a place where anyone who has a passion for fashion or is interested in learning more about how their fashion sense can grow.”
The launch of the boutique came after many years of thought, but Carr decided to begin her journey as a business owner in February 2021.
“I have a passion for fashion, and I wanted to have the opportunity to share my passion on a bigger platform so the ability to do that through a boutique came to mind,” Carr said. “I had extra free time during the pandemic. I thought that it would be the perfect time to finally launch my boutique.”
After developing the goal of her business, Lillian prepared to launch Carr Couture Boutique.
“I prepared to launch by gathering all of my business documents, doing a lot of research, creating a business account, getting the necessary funds to launch my business and preparing the looks that I wanted to launch for my business,” Carr said.
After getting the research and financial side of her business organized, Carr attempted to establish her business’s advertising and photography side.
“I advertise my business through emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok,” Carr said.
Running a small business comes with many responsibilities, including brand promotion and other forms of advertisement.
“The most challenging part is definitely photo shoots,” Carr said. “I feel like everyone thinks that photoshoots are really fun, and they are, in retrospect. However, it’s truly a lot of planning for hair and makeup. You also have to plan for weather changes because you truly never know what will happen in your photos.”
As a business specializing in fashion, the images are an essential part of the brand.
“Photos are truly one of the most important parts of your work, so if you don’t have that piece, then you won’t have the product to produce, and people won’t be drawn to your brand,” Carr said.
Every business has its challenges, especially for student entrepreneurs attempting to balance work and school.
“It’s tough trying to balance running a business while also being a full-time student,” Carr said. “It’s been really difficult to maneuver such trying times, but I’m persevering and making the most out of my experience.”
Carr is aiming to continue her business while also being a successful student.
After moving on campus, Carr decided to take a break from releasing new clothing items and focus on her academics. Lillian still plans to keep Carr Couture up and running even during her vacation.
“I plan to keep my business running by continuing advertising and just making sure that people know my brand,” Carr said. “I hope that through this next year I am able to engage as many people as possible and build my following so that I can grow my business.”
Carr plans to continue expanding her brand, both as a student and after graduating.
“I honestly just hope my business continues to grow,” Carr said. “I hope that when I graduate from Hampton, I am able to run my business full-time along with whatever else I choose to do with my degree. I want people to know that they have people within the industry that care about them and care about curating the best styles for them.”
After nearly 44 years of leadership as the longest-serving president of Hampton University, Dr. William R. Harvey plans to retire next year. As his longtime tenure ends, Hampton students say they are receptive to the leadership change and await transition.
As a graduate of Talladega College, Dr. Harvey insisted on using his skills to set Hampton University on the path of inevitable success.
Assuming office on July 1, 1978, of what was then called Hampton Institute, Dr. Harvey was elected as the 12th president. While serving as president, Dr. Harvey has implemented a leadership program, M.B.A. program, centers for high-tech scientific research such as the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute and expanded the Continuing Education Program.
With numerous awards and accolades, Dr. Harvey made history by becoming the first African American owner in the soft drink bottling industry when he and his wife, Mrs. Norma B. Harvey, purchased a Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise in 1986.
On December 15, 2020, Dr. Harvey announced his plans to retire by June 2022, after nearly 44 years of leadership.
“[Dr.] Harvey’s leadership feels very secure,” said Promise Robinson, a junior Music Recording Technology major from Neptune, New Jersey. “You can tell that the priority is the student’s safety even if we don’t necessarily agree with every protocol.”
Anticipating new changes and eager to see what new leadership will bring to Hampton University, students are optimistic that the change could potentially be smooth-sailing.
“With a new president coming in, I can definitely say I’m looking forward to seeing a shift in the culture at Hampton,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of rules, regulations, departments and buildings that new leadership could possibly look into enhancing. With a new president, I hope to see Hampton shine in a new light that will continue to be enjoyable for the students and staff.”
From the beginning to near the end of his career as president, Dr. Harvey has made it his mission to ensure that students’ voices are accounted for and the No. 1 priority.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Harvey made swift changes to ensure that the students’ and staffs’ safety was at the top of the list, deciding to switch to remote learning.
Students looked forward to the promised new scenery throughout the campus hiatus and were even more excited that a new president would bring a fresher look to the campus.
“I hope they will bring more engaging things to the campus that will benefit us, the campus, [and] our education,” said Chauncey Goodson, a junior Interdisciplinary Studies major from Darlington, South Carolina.
Goodson is hopeful the new president will bring Hampton to even greater heights and maybe add more fun to the mixture.
“I think that once we get a new president, some things on campus may be more fun and exciting to look forward to,” he said. “Especially if the new president is younger. I honestly think they might make some things better here on campus because they could bring something new.”
Students expect a new president who will interact with students more, help balance their priorities, and engage more in their student and campus life.
Students believe that new leadership could bring even more beneficial opportunities to the table.
“Whenever there’s a change in authority, no transition is ever going to be perfectly smooth,” Robinson said, “but I have high hopes that this will be the change Hampton University needs in order to become an even finer institution.”
This past Wednesday, actor Tony Todd, star of the 1992 film Candyman, visited Hampton University for a film screening and discussion with students centered around the newest installment of the Candyman franchise and Todd’s various projects.
Invited by Rel Dowdell, a film studies professor in the English and Foreign Languages department, the screening was held in the Student Center’s theater with a packed student audience.
Dowdell said he wanted students to meet a “real actor” who had paid a lot of dues.
“What I wanted was someone who had over 40 years in the industry, who has done everything, not just theatre acting, but film acting, voiceover, commercials, so they can understand all the different facets of someone who’s done everything,” he said.
Todd, who has acted in more than 230 projects throughout his 40-year career, shared his unique experiences while in the film industry. From turning down Quentin Tarantino four times for a role in Pulp Fiction, traveling to Africa with James Earl Jones, to working on the set of The Crow, before the film’s star, Brandon Lee, tragically died.
During the event, Todd went into detail behind the scenes of his iconic roles in films such as Candyman, Final Destination and the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.
Taking questions from the audience, Todd shared his experience being covered in bees while filming Candyman.
“When I read that script and I saw the bees coming up, I knew that was a scene that had never been done before,” Todd said. “We had an official beekeeper on set. Two days before we started shooting, he took me into his trailer and he said, ‘Tony, it’s time for you to meet the bees.’ I only got stung about 26, 27 times, but the adrenaline was gone.”
He mentioned that he had previously negotiated to receive $1,000 as compensation per bee sting.
Todd also talked about Cabrini Green, the apartment complex Candyman took place in.
“We spent a month in Cabrini Green, which is one of the most hostile housing projects ever created,” he said. “We got to talk to the community, which is mostly single Black women. We were told that they had to get their shopping done by 10 a.m., otherwise it was no-man’s land. If you look closely at the opening scene, a lot of these guys are actual gang members.”
Todd shared that he had initial concerns over the release of Candyman.
“So many people saw that movie when they were little. It freaked me out,” he said. “I went to the director and said, ‘Man, did we make a movie for kids? Are we babysitting for them? He said, ‘Tony, relax. Anybody who saw this movie when they were little either loved it, or was affected by it, or will remember it forever.’”
Todd also spoke on the lack of diversity not just in front of the camera but behind it.
“I would be on a set of 100 people, and I wouldn’t see anybody of color,” Todd said. “They used to not let more than one of us [people of color] on the set.”
Speaking to the future actors and actresses in the audience, Todd advised students to be fearless.
“You have to be fearless, you have to own this role,” he said. “Every role you go for, write down 10 reasons why you don’t want the job.”
Todd worked as a producer in the 2021 reimagining of Candyman. Before the event’s conclusion, the actor hinted at his role as Venom in Spider-Man 2 that is slated to release on Sony’s Playstation 5 in 2023.
Dowdell says he plans to offer events similar to these regularly.
Brenan Holston, a Hampton University graduating senior International Studies major from Atlanta, was crowned the 20th Mister Pirate on Oct. 1, during the Mister Pirate pageant. He competed against four other contestants for the 2021-2022 title.
Holston is truly the jack-of-all-trades as a college student, and his primary goal is to make a positive change not only on the campus of Hampton University but also in the lives of its students as well.
Holston is a proud member of the Gamma Iota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, serving as the chaplain, treasurer and the candyman — the stroll master for the chapter. He is also a member of the Written Water Writing Club, Model United Nations Club, and Sticky Situation — the percussion section of the Hampton University Marching Force.
Holston has big plans as the new male face of Hampton University. Among his plethora of changes is a potential Mister Pirate name makeover of Mister Hampton University to match the Miss Hampton University title, as this has been a passion of previous Mister Pirates.
In a sit-down interview, the newly crowned senior talks about his time at Hampton and what major changes he hopes to bring with his new title.
HS: What encouraged you to run for Mister Pirate?
BH: “At first, it was a suggestion from my line brothers. I didn’t want to at the time. But then, as I thought it out and what that position means to people, I had to take the time away from them and think, ‘Why not? Be someone [students] can look up to or put yourself in the position.’ At the time, I didn’t know if I would make it or not. I didn’t know if it was a long interview process or if I was even going to win the pageant.”
HS: What sets you apart from the other candidates?
BH: “I think the best way to answer that honestly would be my platform. It’s I.C.E., I Choose Everyone, and it’s for promoting inclusivity and interconnectivity across disciplines to create a more unified student body. I think that my platform’s focus is on just the students. The students that go here, especially in this post-COVID-19 world where we are worried about everything else other than just being at Hampton and just living the college life. I think if anything, that would probably be the most important thing to help me stick out.”
HS: How has your time at Hampton been, and how has it affected you as an individual?
BH: “My time at Hampton … I’m not going to lie. When I first got here, I did not want to be here. I wanted to go [to another college]. I went to a private school where I was a minority, of course, and it was just like a culture shock. It felt like I was just going out of my way to do all this stuff. But over time, and just through the friends I’ve met on the drumline and the friends I’ve met just in regular classes and learning professors, dealing with your fellow Black people is different from dealing with other races. And just learning things over time changed me. I try not to just keep my mind boxed up in one [way] like this is how things need to be. I try to enlighten situations. I think that has changed me over time.”
HS: What are you going to do differently compared to the previous Mister Pirates? What is your agenda?
BH: “From what I’ve understood so far, a lot of what I do seems to be to help Miss Hampton University. I would like to bring the Mister Pirate name and position to something that could stand on its own. Of course, [there have] been 64 Miss Hampton University [students selected] and only 20 Mister Pirates, but I think that to treat it as if [there have] been 64 Mister Pirates would work to implement my platform and more than just that, just to help students. To be a friend for every student, to be a mentor, or if I need to be someone for everyone, that would be the best way to go forward. Even though it’s named Mister Pirate, to treat it as though it’s Mister and Miss Hampton University.”
In his newly added capacity, he is excited to work alongside Zahria Brandon, the 2021-2022 Miss Hampton University, and he believes she will be an excellent partner in their latest venture.
The last time Ciara White-Sparks was on campus as a student, she was a sophomore. This past Sunday, the seniors, known as Quintessence Eleven, lined up to walk in their caps and gowns at opening convocation, a sacred tradition for each year’s graduating senior class.
“Being at the opening convocation is when it hit me that I’m a senior and that in the next seven months, I’ll be walking across the stage as a Hampton University graduate,” White-Sparks said.
The 78th Annual Fall Opening Convocation at Hampton University, a ceremonial opening of the new school year, was held Sunday morning on September 26 in the university’s Convocation Center.
Unlike previous years, this year’s opening ceremony was one of a kind.
For the Quintessence Eleven class, this semester was their first time back on campus in over a year due to COVID-19, which shut the university’s campus down in March of 2018, when they were sophomores.
For many of them, like Ciara White-Sparks, a senior journalism major from Las Vegas, Nevada, it still feels like it’s junior year.
“It feels surreal. I had a denial moment because I felt like we missed out on a year of being in person, so in my mind, I am still in a junior year mindset,” White-Sparks said.
However, being at convocation this past weekend, White-Sparks feels excited about the rest of her senior year and what’s to come.
“It felt so good to see the people that I grew up with during my time here at Hampton all in our caps and gowns. It was really just an exciting moment for me, and a great way to kick off senior year,” she said.
As the senior class prepares for graduation in the spring, they won’t be the only ones saying goodbye to their Home by The Sea.
This year’s opening convocation also marked President Dr. William R. Harvey’s last convocation ceremony as the university’s president.
In a statement from HU News, Harvey shared how special this year’s ceremony is, being it’s his last year at Hampton.
“This year’s ceremony is so very special as we will be welcoming our students back to campus after a year of virtual learning. This ceremony will also officially recognize the beginning of my last academic year as President,” Harvey said.
Last December, Harvey announced that after 44 years of serving as the university’s president, he will be stepping down for retirement in June 2022.
In his final year, along with the graduating senior class he will be leaving with, some say it’s the end of an era.
“He left a monumental impact on Hampton University’s campus,” Marissa Black, a senior elementary education major, said.
Harvey took over as president in 1978 when Hampton was referred to as Hampton Institute and has become one of the longest-serving higher education leaders in the country and a leader in the HBCU community.
Although it’s the end of an era, Black says she feels hopeful for the future of Hampton and its students after she graduates this spring.
“It’s also a sign that the future is coming and that it’s going to be something new. He’s leaving behind a legacy that hopefully whomever our new president is can follow.”
This spring in May of 2022, Quintessence Eleven will be walking across the stage in cap and gown to graduate.
Quintessence 12 has newly elected officers after contentious freshman debates, with students electing Carlyle Fulton and Kennedy Ashford, respectively, for freshman class president and vice president.
First-year students campaigned for the positions and were able to debate against each other in the student center September 20.
Hampton students, many of them freshmen, filled the student center seats, stairs and balconies, to see contenders Fulton, Ashford, Jada Hood and Arthur D. Harrington square off.
Vice presidential opponents Jada Hood and Ashford started the debates. They were asked a series of questions by spectators, including one from Trinity Woodson, a graduating senior, on how they’ve been a good representative for their class so far during their time at Hampton.
Hood answered by expressing a recent issue she had faced this past summer. Her response caused an uproar in the room.
“I was targeted [by fellow students] for being LGBTQ, so from there, I took it to Twitter,” Hood said. “A lot of people had my back and support as well as ones who came to me, who had the same issues and were being attacked for being themselves.”
Ashford rebutted, expressing that there was no need to take to social media, and her comments could cast Hampton’s name in a negative light.
Hood countered Ashford’s rebuttal, much to the audience’s surprise.
“How does it feel to have someone on your committee personally attack and make statements about the LGBT community?” Hood asked.
When asked how she felt the debate went, Ashford said that even though she could not answer all questions, she hoped the freshman class voted for who they believed to be the right person for the position.
During the presidential debate between Harrington and Fulton, one question about Harrington’s alleged discriminatory behavior and remarks sparked commotion. Harrington denied the claims, stating that they were false.
“I appreciate everyone, no matter your religion or sexual orientation, and I have people who will vouch for me and tell you that is not the case,” Harrington said.
His response caused an uproar as some students in the crowd seemed to be unhappy with his answer.
After finishing the debate, Fulton said that he believes his opponent provided great competition.
“Good job by Mr. Harrington, and I do feel proud of my performance. I feel proud of the campaign, the work, and everything we have accomplished so far,” Fulton said.
Following the event, many students said that the debates gave them a lot to think about.
“Both candidates had some really strong things to say at the end of the day. It’s going to be a really hard decision to make,” HU student Tomi Akintunde said.
Others said that the debate did not go how they expected.
“I thought we were going to talk about goals and what’s next for the class of ‘25,” HU student Clark Moore said. “However, this turned into a shady debate with lots of mess and undercover drama we were not aware of as the student body, and I would like to know what is going on.”
Senior Class Vice President Myana Mabry, a big of both candidates, thought the debate was needed because it touched on many sensitive topics. However, she was disappointed in the way things played out.
“I expected it to be a bit more professional, honest, thorough and to have concrete plans in place,” Mabry said. “Not just a bunch of optimism.”
Dr. Thomas L. Jones Jr., Director of Bands at Hampton University, arrived at Audi Field with The Marching Force expecting a friendly battle with Howard’s band as part of the first annual “Truth and Service Classic.”
To his dismay, it was the complete opposite.
“Many of our students were left standing in the concourse for 20 to 30 minutes, with many being left in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes after performing the halftime show,” Jones said.
Touchdown after touchdown, Hampton racked up points on the scoreboard in a 48-32 victory. But there was no band to sing the celebratory praise at the end of each touchdown. In addition, Jones shared that the team was not provided access to water or ice during the game.
Howard University was responsible for providing proper seating accommodations to Hampton’s Marching Force as the host school. They assigned Hampton’s band to be seated in a standing-room-only section with a railing that restricted movement for the majority of the band’s auxiliary and instrumental sections, according to Jones.
Howard’s Showtime Marching Band was seated in a section on the opposite side of the stadium, leaving many, such as TV One journalist Roland Martin, with the impression that Hampton’s band was a no-show. He made jabs at Hampton on social media, confusing fans.
He posted a side-by-side picture of an empty section and Howard’s band section.
“Unless the @_hamptonu band is gonna march in as a surprise, there won’t be a halftime battle of the bands. Folks here are greatly disappointed there won’t be a battle with @howard1867. What’s up with that, Hampton?! This is the big game!!!” Martin captioned the photo.
Hampton’s band staff said that they did not know their seating arrangements would be in the standing-room-only area of the stadium.
“Our staff was largely left out of the logistics planning, and several representatives from Howard and their band conducted a walk-through of the facilities prior to the game,” Jones said.
The band had no other option but to seek other seating arrangements.
“Despite our challenges, our Pirate fans were gracious enough to move to a different section to allow our band to be seated in an adequate location,” Jones said.
The band members said the situation was unprofessional, and the issue could have been easily avoided with better communication from both parties.
“It could’ve been better organized, and Howard should take responsibility since they were the hosts,”said Sahara Chapman, a member of Hampton’s Marching Force. “Even if the circumstances had changed, they should’ve notified us so we could’ve been better prepared.”
To clear the air, Jones penned one final message to spectators.
“The lack of adequate seating set off a chain of events that left us in a challenging situation,” he said. “However, once the seating issue was resolved, we were successfully able to tend to all other matters, thus ensuring a quality game-time experience for our fans during the time that we were there.”
The Hampton University Marching Force will next appear on the field October 2 at Armstrong Stadium for the Battle for the Bay with Norfolk State University.
In January, SGA announced that they helped implement wellness days at Hampton University, which were days for students to have needed breaks. Students have had two wellness days thus far, and overall, the consensus has been positive.
Some students find the days rather helpful and use them as intended, de-stressing and focusing on their mental health.
“I usually spend my wellness days just relaxing unless I have an assignment due on that day,” said Rayna Wynn, a Computer Science major from Atlanta, GA, “If nothing is due on that Friday, I just decompress and avoid looking at school stuff.”
Many reported that they were glad they finally had a break during the year, especially since the second semester tends to be a lot busier than the first with finals and big projects.
Some students found them helpful and necessary for getting through the semester, saying that the first semester felt like too much.
“We just went nonstop last semester. We didn’t get breaks, so they really helped,” said Sydney Broadnax, a Journalism major from Detroit, MI, “I can’t do school nonstop like I did last semester. It just wouldn’t be good for my mental health at all.”
While the idea of wellness days has been praised by some students, others think that some issues have come about that should be addressed.
The main goal of the wellness days is to give students a much-needed break from school for the sake of their mental health, yet some students have reported receiving homework on the assigned days. They believe that their teachers are not respecting the days for what they are and see the days as just a regular break instead of a way to get rid of some of the stresses that come from school life.
“I think they should let everyone know that wellness days are occurring because some teachers don’t seem to know why they’re happening and still assign assignments for that day, so I feel like they should organize a little better,” said Austin Phillips, a Strategic Communications major from Plainfield, NJ, “Some teachers seem to just treat it like a break. They see it as a day off and think they can just pile on homework due the following day and that is very stressful to the students.”
The newly implemented wellness days are usually held on Fridays. Students report that their Fridays are not their busiest day of the week, and those days are when their homework tends to be due, so they are not getting time to destress because of the homework their teachers have assigned already.
A possible improvement to this issue is the idea that students could answer a poll and pick what day they want the wellness day to be, collectively as a school.
“Collectively as a class, let’s decide on when we have a wellness day. Let’s come together and decide what day would be best overall,” said Nathan Abdul-Haqq, a Strategic Communications major from Philadelphia, PA. Students appreciate and like the idea of wellness days, but they do need improvements. Students also want more mental health programs to help them have a better experience at Hampton.
For the first mental health program put in place by students for students, the wellness days are a great step in the right direction for an overall better mental health experience for the student body during the school year.