Ashton-Hill councils fuse relaxation with celebration

When February hits campus and winter takes the city literally by storm, students at Seattle Pacific University may begin to feel the late winter blues.

Across the Northwest, February weather is accredited to drops in energy, mood and activity levels for many people. Despite the extra time off because of snow, many students still feel stressed due to approaching midterms.

To combat this, the Ashton and Hill hall councils asked people to come and dance in their pajamas.

On Feb. 8, council members from Ashton and Hill hall joined forces to host the “Sleepless in Seattle Fuse Dance.”

The music coming from Hill lounge, where the dance was hosted, could be heard from the surrounding campus buildings and beyond, inviting students from all over campus to join. Inside, students could dance, eat snacks or just relax.

The planning of the dance was aimed towards creating a stress-free atmosphere. Nantasha Koval, president of the Ashton hall council, explained the overall idea of the dance.

“We wanted our theme to be ‘Sleepless in Seattle Pacific,’ so we wanted it to be pajamas, sleepover kind of themed,” Koval said.

Jeanne Coyle, Hill’s vice president of finance and administration, wanted a space where anyone could feel welcome.

“We wanted it to be really accessible,” she said. “You can have a snack, you can put on a facemask in the corner, you can hang out in the blanket fort.”

Students milling around the front desk enjoyed cozy snacks such as popcorn and oreos given winter-themed names.

What stuck out to some students about the Ashton-Hill Fuse dance, compared to other dances, was the facemasks available to those who preferred lounging over dancing as a form of self-care.

“Self-care — that’s really important during winter quarter, because we’re all kind of struggling and it’s midterms,” Coyle said.

Many students attending the dance said that this one was unique due to its laid-back nature.

In light of self-care, dancing has many physical benefits, including the release of dopamine and serotonin. Paired with the option to enjoy food and facemasks, attendees felt welcome to unwind amongst peers.

Another way students were encouraged to practice self care was by taking a break from dancing to relax in the blanket fort.

“I haven’t been in a blanket fort since I was a kid, so this is really exciting for me,” Koval said.

Made up of sheets and lounge furniture, the fort was big enough to fit many students at once, and featured a selection of decorative pillows inside.

Freshmen Cuatli Kimbwala and Silas Newey were surprised to hear that students were allowed inside the fort.

“I’m just here for snacks,” Kimbwala said.

Newey also said he came downstairs for snacks. Both of them are Hill residents and heard about the dance through the GroupMe app.

Although they showed up for food, they decided to mingle around the edges of the crowd to watch people dance, something neither of them claim to be good at.

“I like the pajamas, though,” Newey said. “It looks fun. The theme is good.”

Many other Hill residents were also there, but not to dance. Several people lounged on the couches with facemasks, each wearing different styles of pajamas — onesies, button-down loungewear and grey sweatpants were all part of the mix.

In line with the theme, most people present seemed to have let go of their worries, ready to dance for a few hours in their PJs.

“People who are just passing through feel like they can come in,” Coyle said. “In any state they are in — in their pajamas, not wearing makeup, just woke up from a nap — it’s just really fun.”

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