Students gather in the Chamberlain Student Center to make oil diffusers. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Tara Lonsdorf

The early-to-mid weeks of December bring about a palpable change within the Rowan University climate. Where once it was common to see groups of students laughing and smiling, the standard interaction between twenty-somethings has become a violent oscillation between uncontrollable sobbing and dead-eyed silence. Where once classroom learning could perhaps be described as a fulfilling endeavor, there are now legions of pre-medical students threatening to drop out to pursue careers as circus clowns. Yes, it’s that time of the year again: finals week.

In what seems to be a concerted effort to minimize the number of public breakdowns for Wellness Center staff to mop up, Healthy Campus Initiatives (HCI) hosted an event where the Rowan community could make DIY oil diffusers. Students could then either take these home or give them to loved ones as holiday gifts. Fiona Yeung, junior biology major and HCI intern, was responsible for coordinating the event.

“In the wellness calendar, December marks the month of self-care,” Yeung explained. “I wanted to think of an idea where students could take something with them. Especially since December is so close to finals season, I wanted to do something very stress-free and something that students could find a scent, or essential oils that they find comforting.”

According to Yeung, another motivating factor behind choosing the DIY project is that a huge source of December stress is often rooted in paying for gifts. Since the diffuser could be given to another person, this project could potentially mitigate stress this way, too.

For senior elementary education major Alexa Balin, though, some parts of the assembly – which includes combining set amounts of water, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils in a chemical concoction – were, well, stressful. After hearing about the event through a Rowan Announcer, she trekked through the snow to participate, only to find that some of the lavender-scented oils had already been drained.

“It’s pretty fun,” Balin said, “but it seems like the essential oils aren’t working very well. Besides that, [the assembly itself] was explained very well. It’s a really good idea for finals week.”

Balin’s main suggestion towards similar events for the future, though, relates the design of the diffuser itself, in which the oils must circulate along 12-inch bamboo skewers.

“Maybe next time, make it a little easier to transport,” she said.

For comments/questions about this story, email or tweet @TheWhitOnline.