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Serenity Room Adds Drop-In Classes

The Serenity Room, which the College introduced last fall as a space for freshmen to practice self-guided relaxation exercises, will offer daily half-hour drop-in sessions to teach meditation and “mindfulness.” It is now open to all students as well as faculty.

Located in the basement of Grays Hall, the room—which was opened following a report on campus stress levels as well as in response to requests for a quiet space in the Yard—is open 24 hours a day and features cushioned chairs as well as beach-themed art. To facilitate meditation, room users can enjoy tea and listen to soothing music.

This year’s changes were inspired by the popularity of drop-in hours at Harvard University Health Services and are part of a University-wide initiative to promote mindfulness, said Jeanne M. Mahon, the director of the Center for Wellness who spearheaded the expansion of the Serenity Room’s services.

The instructor-led drop-in sessions take place Monday through Friday from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. and Monday through Thursday 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. They consist of a guided meditation.

The sessions focus on breathing, Mahon said, adding that instructors can choose which mindfulness technique to propose to the group.

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While the room was underutilized last year, there have been anywhere from four to 12 people at each session since drop-ins were introduced this fall, she said.

Serenity Room
The Serenity Room, pictured at its opening last year.

“Mindfulness has been shown to be a mechanism of stress reduction,” said Alexandra E. Kutler, a Serenity Room instructor who studies mindfulness at Harvard Divinity School.

The drop-in hours “give people a space to disconnect,” she added.

Matthew J. Goodkin-Gold ’19, who attended drop-in hours last week, said that the guided exercises help familiarize students with meditation.

“For anyone interested in going, one session is enough to feel comfortable,” he said.

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