Students have many methods of coping with the stress that comes with the final weeks of class, but UT provided their own way with their "Stress Relief Party" on Monday.
The Campus Entertainment Board, comprised of students, planned the event. Funded by the Central Program Council, the party gave students a welcome release from the demanding process of finals.
Students such as Carolyn Wood literally jumped at the opportunity to partake in an enjoyable and unconventional study break.
"I did not know about the stress relief party until my friend came inside and told me," Wood, a junior in Asian studies, said. "When I found out there were inflatables outside I said, 'Why are we not out there?' I dragged her out here and when we saw (the water slide) we had to do it."
The pair was fully clothed and unprepared for water activities but braved the brisk weather and declared the water slide a bit chilly, though much better the second time around.
The event consisted of a moon bounce, water slide, music and more.
"We've been working hard, especially this semester, to have new ideas," Tyler Nowin, a sophomore board member majoring in communications, said. "We wanted to try things we have not done and stray away from the traditional things we have done in the past."
Bringing in members from the Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (H.A.B.I.T.), an off-campus organization, is one recently popular element of de-stressing events across campus. H.A.B.I.T. member Libby Matlock, a UT graduate and current graduate student at Gonzaga University, understands the pressures students are under and enjoys giving them a reason to smile, or in some cases, cry.
"The students really connect with the animals, many students will sit right on the floor and pet the dogs," Matlock said. "Most students are so happy to play with the dogs, but one girl cried because she was overcome with the difficult week and the reminder that she missed her own dog."
Matlock came with her dog, Lawson, a five-year-old greyhound and former racer who has served as a trained H.A.B.I.T. dog for three years.
Greta Hoffman, a freshman studying linguistics, enjoyed watching the stress fall away from her fellow students.
"I was already sitting in the Humanities Amphitheater when the inflatables popped up, the music started playing, and H.A.B.I.T. trainers brought their dogs over," Hoffman said. "They encouraged me to get ice cream from the sundae bar which had a variety of flavors and toppings."
While the event was a needed distraction from the weeks ahead, it also demonstrated innovation in the annual effort to relieve students from the strain of the end of the semester.
"The whole event was very different from the last three years and was pretty refreshing," Chauntelle Williams, a junior in ecology and evolutionary biology, said. "I had a semester-long study for ecology and a paper due today, so this was really relaxing for me to get my energy out and de-stress."