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CCAD students 'unplugged' from technology for 24-hours

Students, faculty and staff at the Columbus College of Art and Design spent Wednesday unplugged from technology.

Student government members came up with the idea for Unplugged Day to help with student mental health and well-being after a board member noted last year that many students seemed stressed out and anxious.

"We knew this wasn’t a problem that you could fix with one event or in just one way, but we decided to come back and, as a collective, just look at how technology played a part in our mental well-being and it kind of just went from there," said Mickenzie Willars, president of student government.

Willars, a senior majoring in advertising and graphic design, said a campus survey showed rates of depression among CCAD students had "risen pretty drastically."

That led to the development of Unplugged Day, with activities available for students, faculty and staff staying off their electronic devices for the day.

People were encouraged to write sticky notes on an "analog Facebook wall," and free food, coffee and tea were made available to those who took part.

There were also tables where people could plant their own succulents or make valentines.

"Anything that we can do to kind of encourage face-to-face interactions are kind of happening in the lobby today," Willars said just before lunchtime Wednesday. "So far, the turnout has been great, so I think the rest of the day is going to go pretty well, too."

Willars, who described CCAD as being a campus that is not social media-dependent, said there had been a lot of positive feedback about Unplugged Day. That included feedback from faculty and staff who said they were excited and that they were scheduling in-person meetings instead of email correspondence for the day.

"On the student end, it seemed to be a healthy mixture of excitement and curiosity," Willars said. "Like, 'I don’t know what this means,' like, 'How am I going to do this?' But the overall response has been really positive. It seems like people are really excited to take a break and kind of see how an absence of technology is affecting their mental health and I think that’s great."

While the activities only go until 5 p.m., everyone is encouraged to stay off electronic devices for a full 24 hours.


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