New Drop-in Meditation ‘Zen Dens’ Offer Trinity College Students a Space to Relax

Bantams in Balance Wellness Initiative Hosts Many Stress-Relieving Activities Before and During Final Exams Week

​Hartford, Connecticut, December 11, 2017 – This semester, the Bantams in Balance wellness initiative has introduced drop-in meditation locations called Zen Dens as a new way for Trinity College students to relax. Stress-relief breaks are especially important during the week of final exams, so many activities to help ease the mind are scheduled across campus.

Olivia Painchaud ’21 practices meditation at a Zen Den. ​Photos by Nick Caito.
 The goal of the Zen Dens—which are open to students, faculty, and staff—is to create physical spaces on campus where anyone can drop in for silent reflection, meditation, coloring, and other meditative practices during their day. Each Zen Den session is staffed by students who set up the spaces and provide all of the materials used during that time. The program is overseen by Kate Marinchak, Psy.D., staff psychologist and outreach coordinator at the Trinity Counseling Center. “Our goal is to integrate meditation and mindfulness practices more into our physical campus and to make it as easy as possible for students to take a few minutes to themselves each day,” Marinchak said. “We hope that by locating these Zen Dens throughout campus, students will be able to drop in when it’s convenient for them, and take some time to do something they might not otherwise do, by sitting in silence and reflecting and relaxing.” 

The Zen Dens are open through the week of finals for drop-in meditation at the following times and locations: Monday, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., in Funston 200; Tuesday, 10 a.m.-noon, in Funston 200; Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. in Bishop’s Lounge in Mather Hall; and Friday, noon-2:00 p.m. in Goodwin Lounge in Goodwin-Woodward Hall. Each session provides adult coloring materials, guided meditation scripts, information about websites offering free guided meditation, and haiku poetry to read. In the Funston location, meditation pillows and aromatherapy are also provided.

Olivia Painchaud ’21, one of the students who staffs the Zen Dens, said that she thinks they are great spaces in which students can take the time to relax and regroup. “There are so many different contrasting stressors at college and it is really important to take care of your mental health among all of it,” she said. “Whether you know how to meditate or you’re looking for something to help you relieve your stress, the Zen Den is a really great place.”

Marinchak added, “No special training is needed at all. Students are welcome to come sit silently, to color, to journal, or to utilize the scripts and websites we provide for guided meditation. The only thing we ask is that students remain silent; if someone wants to utilize a guided meditation exercise on their phone, we ask that they use headphones and be respectful of others’ practices as well. No previous experience is necessary either, and there’s no ‘right way’ to meditate. I’d love for our students to make use of the Zen Dens during finals.”

Bantams in Balance is a wellness initiative that was launched in fall 2017 by the Division of Student Affairs and encourages healthy decision-making, self-care, and stress management among all Trinity students. For more information, click here.

Below is a schedule of more stress-relieving events taking place on campus before and during final exams:

Coloring Books on the Go

Monday, December 11, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Mather Hall Lobby


Hot Beverages & Lawn Games

Tuesday, December 12, all day

Peter B’s Patio


Spin & Win at Midnight Breakfast

Wednesday, December 13, 10:00 p.m.-midnight

Mather Hall


Brainwave & Handwriting Analysis

Thursday, December 14, 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Vernon Social


Holiday Movies & Gingerbread House Decorating

Friday, December 15, 9:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.

The Cave


Kave Karaoke

Saturday, December 16, 10:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.

The Cave



Saturday, December 16, 2:00 p.m.

Crescent 76H


Work Out the Stress

Sunday, December 17, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.



Written by Dana Martin ’18