The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) celebrated the midpoint of the spring semester in the Iadarola Center Lobby allowing students and faculty to stop by and enjoy the Mardi Gras-themed festivities throughout the day.
Keeping with the Mardi Gras theme, the CTL had free snacks, beads, various crafts, prizes, themed word puzzles and the chance to enter a raffle for a fold-up camping chair on March 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Kathleen Flynn, senior English major and worker at the writing center, said that the midpoint celebration aimed to be a stress reliever and allow students to take a short break in-between their Tuesday classes.
“The word puzzles, the create-your-own Mardi Gras mask supplies and the opportunity to win prizes definitely motivate people to come have a good time,” Flynn said. “It’s nice to have fun for a change.”
Lisa Ratmansky, director of the CTL, said the center has three events, one at the beginning, middle and end of each semester, but this was the first time they had a Mardi Gras-type event.
Housed in the Iadarola Center, the CTL offers free academic help to students through peer and faculty tutoring.
The dedicated faculty give individualized support in the fields of mathematics, writing and many other specific subjects.
“We’re just looking to have a silly, fun time here today,” Ratmansky said. “We want to help students relax and for them to do well during the next half of the semester. One goal we always have is to let students know we care about them and want to help them succeed. We can do that here by sitting down and having fun for 20 minutes with a student.”
Ratmansky said that the complementary food and word searches can help to stimulate the mind as well as relax the body for students.
In the Iadarola Center lobby, the CTL set up a long table with donut holes, chocolate candies and other free food on one end and a large pile of prizes, ranging from giant pens to packs of silly putty to cup holders, that students could win on the other end.
In order to win a prize, you first had to successfully complete a word puzzle or a word search, both having words relating to the Mardi Gras theme. Then, for every completed puzzle turned in, you could get a prize.
“I always come to all of the CTL events because you can win a whole bunch of fun, little prizes,” Lindsey Wainwright, sophomore accounting major, said. “I like the CTL staff. They’re awesome.”
Wainwright said she likes the CTL events because they can bring you out of your comfort zone. They let you do awesome things and encourage other people to do awesome things, even if you don’t know them.
Darla Nagy, math tutor, said that events such as this show students that the CTL is there for the college community and doesn’t want students to stress unnecessarily at the midpoint of the semester.
“Students should come when they need help,” Nagy said. “I’m glad students are coming to celebrate Mardi Gras, but our other purpose to ensure everyone knows that we care about students succeeding academically and celebrating the midpoint.”
Ratmansky noted students were taken off-guard by the celebration.
“In the end, it is always fun to see students smile, laugh for a minute and get surprised by something they didn’t expect,” Ratmansky said. “We try to make these events as goofy and interactive as possible so that maybe someone will remember an enjoyable time from their childhood and laugh with a classmate. Really, our biggest goal is to bring a little sunshine to students.”