Harper Wellness hosts wellness and social hour


A group of friends socialize at the wellness and social hour hosted by Harper Wellness in the Health and Recreation Center on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (Photo by Jose Hurst.)

The Harper Wellness department hosted a wellness and social hour in Building M, the Health and Recreation Center, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 from 11-1 p.m. 

The event offered students the opportunity to play games in the e-gaming room downstairs, go to resource tables on the first floor and have refreshments like red and pink frosted cupcakes, hot cocoa and apples upstairs.

According to Manager of Harper Wellness Elizabeth Ripperger, the hour was designed as a chance for students to socialize as well as learn about different resources and events at Harper, such as the Health and Recreation Center group exercise classes, the new e-gaming sports team and Black History Month events.

Additionally, free Buddy System t-shirts were given to students who signed up for the Buddy System program, an initiative to help Harper students make friends. 

Ripperger said that the event was heavily promoted to students participating in the Buddy System program at Harper, but all students were welcome. She emphasized the importance of social connection to student success and hoped that the event sparked a sense of community.

“… really we want students to feel like they belong on campus, that there is a space for them and that they’ve met other students and had the opportunity,” Ripperger said. 

For sophomore Het Patel, the opportunity to meet other students was what brought him to the event. 

Two years ago, he moved from Niles to Schaumburg. Since classes moved online due to the pandemic, he didn’t get to make any new friends, but he’s hoping to make new friends during his last semester at Harper. 

“I’m more like a social guy, so I like meeting new people and stuff,” Patel explained. 

Wellness promotional assistant and sophomore Mitchell Ryba also appreciated the hour and enjoys such social events on campus.

“It’s really awesome just to be able to talk with other students and meet new people, make friends. I really enjoy it,”  Ryba said. “So depending on which department’s running [the social hour] you can get freebies and free food, and it’s just nice to be able to do something besides schoolwork for a day — a break.”

Student Kaitlyn Kropp attended as a brand-new member of the Buddy System. She is a member of the Transition Autism Program (TAP) — a program to mentor autistic students who are new to Harper — and former president of Access and Disability Services (ADS) Success Club and felt the Buddy System could provide her with another avenue to be a mentor to students. 

“I help out people where I can, and I think the Buddy System is another good way just to be like “Here, I’m here to help you if you need any help. Let me know,”‘ Kropp said.