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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Zen Den provides an outlet from brazen school life

Zen Den amenities include blankets to nap in and activities to de-stress with. Photo credit: Crystal Jinkens

Every college student knows it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, but for those who choose to stay up late studying, Chico State has a solution.

Zen Den and Zen Den II offer a break from a busy — and often sleep deprived — daily routine.

The two locations on campus operate independently. The Counseling Center oversees the Zen Den in the Student Services Center and the Wildcat Recreation Center operates the Bell Memorial Union location.

Both dens offer coloring pages, bean bags, hammocks for sleeping and massage chairs. These are just a few of the amenities to promote mental well-being.

Kelsey Tikkanen, who supervises Zen Den II, said the most popular activity that takes place in the Den is napping.

“A lot of people just come to sleep and have a quiet place, whether they’re a freshman who lives in the dorms where there is a lot of noise going on (or) an upper classman who is busy trying to get a job,” Tikkanen said.

The success of Zen Den prompted the opening of Zen Den II in September.

Jessica Magallanes, a staff psychologist at the Counseling Center, said they received good feedback from counselors for providing a space for students who just need some extra time.

Providing a safe space is also one of the biggest goals of the dens.

“The goal all over campus is to promote as many safe spaces and relaxation places where students can go to clear their minds,” Tikkanen said. “So we saw an opportunity and a room available to make another safe place just in case they can’t get to the one in the Counseling Center.”

Tikkanen also said she believes that it is an important stand-alone tool. “It helps students learn how to clear their mind on their own without having to go talk to a counselor.”

For future plans, Tikkanen said she is hoping for more safe relaxation places on campus. But right now, the two existing dens are sufficient.

Zen Den is located in SSC 430 and operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Zen Den II is located in BMU 301 and operates weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Amelia Storm can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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