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The sun shines bright on the new amphitheater Aug. 16 at Brazos Park. The park will host various events for students and faculty members.

Recently opening in the heart of campus, Brazos Park took the place of Brazos House — adding it to the list of green spaces available to students on campus.

The 82-year-old dorm was demolished last summer to be replaced by the park, which houses an amphitheater built out of bricks from the former dorm, seating areas and several yards of open green space. It is located feet away from the University Center, making it easily accessible to much of the student body.

College can be frustrating, especially when we spend much of our time indoors in a classroom, staring at screens and cramming our brains with information. According to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, students most often deal with three major psychiatric conditions: anxiety, stress and depression.

Green spaces offer a breath of fresh air — literally — and moments of reflection. According to a 2017 University of Essex article, green spaces can promote positive mental health and foster well-being, among other benefits.

Adults are spending less and less time outdoors; according to NatureofAmericans.org, over 60% of adults spend five hours or less outdoors a week. With classes, jobs and other obligations, college can easily hinder students’ outdoor time further.

In his book, Walden, transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

Giving yourself time to just exist and reflect is not wasted but restorative.

In addition to counseling (which UTA provides with six free sessions through Counseling and Psychological Services), students should take advantage of this centrally located space for their mental health. Students should take a break from their busy schedules and utilize the open space.

And yes, the park does offer electrical outlets, but consider putting the screens away too, at least for a few minutes.

Brazos Park is more than just a mental escape, though. Gone is a dorm of the past and in its place, a new opportunity to increase campus visibility and culture. When we utilize the new spaces UTA has to offer, we’re letting the administration know that its investment was worthwhile.

UTA put the park in place, now it’s up to students to use it.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; engagement editor Edward Medeles; news reporter Elizabeth Jones and copy editor Andrew Walter.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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