The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the oldest state-supported military college in the United States, has declared war on cadet stress — with coloring books and therapy dogs.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, it’s all part of the “Stress Busters” program designed to for help students “unwind and relax” through experimentation that includes yoga, therapy dogs and coloring book stations.
The news was gleaned from VMI’s website but shortly after the Free Beacon broke the story Tuesday morning, the details disappeared online. Though the Stress Busters program is referenced, no explanation is offered as to how the stress is busted.
As one college alumnus told the Beacon, “VMI once took America’s youth and prepared them for duty and the harsh realities of war. Now, for $20k a year, VMII will turn your teenagers back into children.”
According to the earlier posting: “Stress Busters is held on Reading Day of each semester. This is an opportunity for cadets to unwind and relax before studying for finals. This event often includes stress reduction activities such as yoga, therapy dogs, coloring book stations, card/game stations, and grab-and-go snacks to take with you on your way to study!”
VMI explains that the Stress Busters program was a consequence of the merger of the Cadet Peer Educators and the Cadet Equity Association’s Training and Education branch, which has occurred in the 2016-17 school year.
The school’s Cadet Peer Educators program focuses on “bystander intervention” that instructs cadets how to “identify barriers to bystander intervention, establish skills/techniques to intervene, and to provide…resources to all cadets in attendance.”
Cadets can also find fliers on health issues in their bathroom stalls.
VMI was founded in 1839 and is often referred to as the “West Point of the South.” Notable alumni include Gen. George Marshall, secretary of state to President Harry Truman, and Gen. George Patton, famed Second World War senior commander and tactician.