By Jenna Hutchins
February 22, 2017
This past Wednesday saw a huge turnout of students at St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Romano Student Alumni Center for its first ever paint and sip event. The night hosted over sixty students for the collaborative event between the Art Therapy Club and the Therapeutic Recreation Club, two student-run organizations on campus.
The Therapeutic Recreation Club, run by President Gabriel Yum, conceptualized the event. “Our club was thinking of different events to do on campus, and I knew from social media that paint and sip nights are very popular with many different people. It’s very stress relieving and is a great way to meet new people and socialize.”
Caryn Balacky, the vice president of the club, made a connection between the event and their therapeutic recreation major. “In therapeutic recreation, we focus on the five domains of personal growth and development, including physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual elements. This event focuses on many of these domains because people are physically painting and participating in a relaxing event and socializing with their peers.”
Students’ experiences and feedback echoed club leaders’ hopes for the night. The usually quiet Romano Center was filled with conversation and joviality. Senior Theresa McKenna, who sat in the drinking only section of the room, felt the event was perfect timing. She said of the night, “I have always wanted to try a paint and sip event and it happened at the best time during the term. Painting was definitely great for relieving tension, and it’s right before midterms, which is nice.” She then added with a smile, “And so is the wine.”
The presence of adult beverages at STAC events is relatively new. Besides Senior Week and occasionally Oktoberfest and Springfest, there are not many opportunities for the over 21 students at STAC to enjoy a beer or glass of wine with fellow students at school events. While the paint and sip event would have been just as successful without the option to purchase a wristband for a drink ticket, this added element provided a fun change for many students.
In addition to the Therapeutic Recreation Club, the Art Therapy Club prepared for weeks to make sure the night would run smoothly. President Kristin Moran said members spent weeks designing canvases so students would have a variety of images to paint. “We only budgeted for fifty canvases, and we had such a large turnout that we will definitely plan for a larger group next time we do this. We hope to do this once a semester because there is so much interest from the students.”
If students are interested in joining one or both of these clubs to help plan fun events in the future, the Therapeutic Recreation Club meets on Thursdays at 4:30 pm in Maguire Hall 122, and the Art Therapy Club meets on Mondays at 2:30 pm in the Romano Center. The club leaders are also open for questions. Gabriel Yum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Kristin Moran at email@example.com.