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Groovy, baby: Silent disco raises awareness

By Hannah Fierle, For The Miami Student

It was just like any other dance party. There was a room full of people, all smiling, laughing, dancing and enjoying themselves. But there was one notable, peculiar difference: there was no music playing.

Student organization, MU Project You, hosted a silent disco Wednesday as part of Miami's "Stress Less Week." At a silent disco, participants bring headphones and are given a choice of playlists to stream on their individual devices. However, it is only heard through their headphones and no music is broadcasted to the room. So, one person may be dancing to a different song than the person right next to them.

"Our goal as an organization is to see positive self-worth," said Alyssa Zediker, event coordinator for MU Project You. "We want to send the message to students that you don't have to change yourself to have a sense of belonging at Miami's campus."

The silent disco is symbolic of the silence around mental health. The organization strives to change and promote the conversations that need to be had about mental health awareness on college campuses.

"Just because others can't hear the music doesn't mean it's not there," said Ashton Spann, president and founder of MU Project You. "And likewise just because you can't see mental illness doesn't mean it's not real."

Project You aims to create programs that promote awareness of mental health and self-esteem on campus.

"We want to create programs that support our mission and tear down the silence and stigmas around mental health," said Zediker.

"Stress Less Week" is partnered with Student Counseling Services for a week of activities for students to unwind, relax and learn about campus health resources.

"The Silent Disco is an opportunity for students to come have fun through dance while also learning about mental health resources in the campus community," said Jennifer Young, assistant director for outreach and programming for Student Counseling Services. "We hope to raise awareness of mental health problems as well as student prevention efforts."

Other events during "Stress Less Week" include dog and miniature horse therapy, free massages, coloring books and stress management resources.

Following the event, Zediker felt that the Silent Disco was a success.

"I think we made a positive impact on those who attended," she said.