Stress pillar interactive project motivates students

Offering advice and information to students about stress, an interactive project sponsored by Peyton Heart Club and designed by senior Jenna Krauss helps students combat stress.

By creating an interactive two-week project, senior Jenna Krauss promoted mental health positivity. The project, located on a pillar near the main entrance stairs, allowed students to express their stress and ways to relieve it.
During the two week timeframe of the project’s start and finish, Krauss was able to create and engage students with a stress exhibition full of tips and information about mental health.
“As a person that deals with stress a lot it was really helpful to see how other people deal with stress,” senior Alexus Yeakel said. “It was also really nice to know I wasn’t alone in being so stressed and dealing with mental health.”
The project was inspired by a Thomas Jefferson University scholarship for design, where Krauss will major in graphic design.
“I’m very much about taking every opportunity I can get,” Krauss said.
Krauss was overwhelmed by the prompt “designers improve lives” at first, feeling that it was “broad and very intimidating.” She began researching, through TED talks and other resources, designers that had positive effects on others along with different topics to focus on.
“I ended up going with mental health just because it affects so many teens and I’m also very supportive of mental health awareness,” Krauss said.
After narrowing down her topic, Krauss decided the format of her project.
“I needed visual evidence that this affected someone’s life,” Krauss said. “So making [the project] interactive made it that much easier.”
Peyton Heart Club, of which Krauss was the outreach officer, sponsored the project and helped her get the approval of Principal Sam Varano to start the exhibition.
Krauss covered a pillar near the stairs closest to the main entrance with informational and interactive panels about stress.
“I was scared that [students] weren’t going to get it, understand why it was there or what it was doing, but then they did and they interacted with it,” Krauss said.
One informational panel was titled “stress” and contained statistics about teen stress and its effects. The interactive panel to its right, titled “destress,” allowed students to draw and/or write in boxes about how they relieve stress.
“I know some people really loved the idea and being able to be creative. It was really nice to see people reading what people wrote and hopefully applying it to their lives,” Yeakel said.
The next panel was titled “support” and discussed the importance of social support and provided hotlines for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Help Line.
According to senior Meg Cross, the pillar was a ”daily reminder to check [her] own stress and mental health.”
The last panel was titled “motivate” and was an interactive activity in which students could take a motivational sticky note and leave a motivational sticky note.
“I noticed it shortly after it was put up and some of the messages on it made me smile,” junior Riya Padia said.
The pillar collected a total of 112 sticky notes on the “motivation” side of the pillar, not counting the ones taken by students, and students filled 146 boxes on the “destress” side of the pillar with their relaxation methods.
“I really enjoyed making it and seeing the impact it had on people and just how interacting with it made their day a little bit better,” Krauss said.