Pop-up Parties come to HW

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Harvard-Westlake (HW) created pop-up parties this year in order to reduce student stress. The first pop-up party, which was on Friday, Oct 4, 2019, consisted of students playing Jenga, making friendship bracelets and coloring in coloring books.

Since more students are stressed and need a space to relax, Juliet Suess, along with Keith Jordan and Kelly Decker, created pop-up parties. Decker encourages students to not view stress negatively since it only helps students pay more attention to their priorities. However, since many students are too stressed about not having enough time, pop-up parties can serve as a means to distract students from the stress they have experienced throughout the day. “Pop-up parties are a space to relax, build community and go for a space away from school while still being in school,” Suess said.

The idea behind pop-up parties primarily came from last year’s mental health activities in May, although pop-up parties are not only for mental health. “Last year, we had a table where we made friendship bracelets, and I would have students asking me during eighth and ninth period asking if they could make friendship bracelets. So, I wanted to do something like that that would be able to happen year-round when people can do these fun little things,” Suess said.

Students believed that pop-up parties were very useful but could be improved. Lyon Park ‘23 enjoyed a game of Jenga with his friends. “Pop-up parties were very effective since it took my mind off of work, and we had fun playing Jenga. Pop-up parties could be more fun if there was food,” Park ‘23 said.

Decker also believed that pop-up parties can be very effective since sometimes, all one needs is a little break to gain a new perspective. “Often whatever it is that was feeling stressful does not feel as stressful when we’ve taken even just a few minutes away from thinking about it,” Decker said.

Pop-up parties can also be effective in bringing together the HW community. “I think the activities brought students together who otherwise didn’t know each other and that was a real unexpected treat to see,” Decker said.

Although the first pop-up party’s date was announced, Suess hopes that future unannounced pop-up parties can occur on different days so a variety of people can participate. “Since there are club meetings every day all over the place, we are trying to organize it so people can be involved at some point or another without having them feel like they are missing out on something they really like to do,” Suess said.

Also, pop-up parties are voluntary so it wouldn’t be a burden for some to come. “We didn’t want it formulated like a club since we wanted people to come and go as they please and use it as a place of relaxation,” Suess said.

Although many students enjoyed the first pop-up party, Suess invites students to email her new ideas and tips to improve pop-up parties. “I hope that students are excited and open to giving tips of what they want to see at these events,” Suess said.