SSA Senator of Student Services Anri Bien-Aime, a senior majoring in business administration from Springfield Gardens, N.Y., said the space is very important because there are very few areas on campus where students can go to de-stress and regain their focus.
“In an environment where one’s brain is constantly processing and intaking what’s happening around them, having this space can help explore those different senses and utilize them better in real-life situations,” Bien-Aime said. “As a student dealing daily with homework, tests, extracurricular activities, etc., putting tons of stress and overloading our brains, a Sensory Space can give us that chance to momentarily forget that daily pressure and practice self-care that many of us preach but don’t act on. Stout offering this space is a huge step forward, not only for students with disabilities but the general student population who could use a relaxation zone.”
Bien-Aime is aware of other universities, such as Minnesota-Duluth and Stony Brook in New York, that offer sensory-friendly spaces.
Students who identify with anxiety, depression, autism, spectrum disorders and other disabilities need quiet spaces with limited stimulus on campus, Murphy said, while noting the space is open to anyone.
The library is a great location because of its extended hours and other reasons, Murphy said.
“It is a quiet location with the added benefit of proximity to the all-gender restroom. The Disability Services office is also located in the library, so it gives us the opportunity to talk about the space to students, show where it is located and discuss its purpose,” Murphy said.
The library monitors use of the room, and Disability Services provides the fidgeting devices.