Student Senate and CCW bring happiness to campus with light boxes


Photo by Annette Espinoza

Student Senate announced a new partnership with the Center for Counseling and Wellness (CCW) to provide light boxes to students as well as a wellness room.

The announcement came via an Instagram post on January 11. Senate’s post detailed that the light boxes “can be used to imitate natural sunlight and lessen effects of depression felt during winter months.”

Calvin has purchased four light boxes which can each be checked out for up to three weeks at a time.

Students with seasonal depression or depression are the main intended users of the light boxes. According to Irene Kraegel, director of the CCW, the boxes have the potential to cause more agitation to a person presenting symptoms of anxiety. However, if a student is showing symptoms of depression with some symptoms of anxiety paired with it, then the CCW would still suggest using a box.

Claire Murashima, a sophomore on Student Senate, commented on the target demographic for the light boxes.

“It’s not for everyone. It’s mainly for students with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. We’re trying to improve the experience of those students and serve them in ways that the college doesn’t already.”

They suggest using the light box as a part of your morning routine at the same time every day for 30 minutes. The effects will not take place right away so it does require some level of routine as well as patience.

Kraegel commented on the CCW’s partnership with Student Senate. “We are really excited about our partnership with Student Senate,” said Kraegel. “They have shown a lot of vision and initiative this year in terms of mental health and thinking of how to better support students, whether or not students are coming to see us at CCW.”

One other significant project they are working on together is a wellness room, which will be located down the hall from the CCW in the Spoelhof Center. Students will be able to check out this room for thirty minutes to an hour in order to spend time alone and relax in a safe space.

Akyera Alexi, a senior on Student Senate, said that Senate has helped in designing the room, picking the furnishings out. She said that while doing so, they were very mindful about how they could provide items which would help students to relax and re-center themselves the best in the wellness room.

The CCW received a grant from the alumni association for the wellness room. That grant allows them to buy a massage chair as well as other relaxation supplies. Student Senate has also contributed funds toward this project.

The wellness room will officially open for student use in February, according to Kraegel.

Kraegel added, “We love working with students in general, so we find that when we’re doing projects hand in hand with students they just turn out better,” said Kraegel. “There’s energy behind it and that creativity. And all of our services are devoted to students, so to have students also involved in the decision-making process when we have limitation on what we do just makes it so much more relevant.”

The lightboxes are currently available for students to check out, and they also have six more being shipped in, so there will be a total of ten light boxes available. You can reserve one by going into the CCW office in SC 386, calling (616) 526-6123 or going online to