IMU pulls out all the stops to mitigate student stress for finals week


The Daily Iowan; Sid Peterson

Students wait in line for breakfast at the Iowa Memorial on Monday, May 7, 2018. "Flippin' into Finals" featured the Pancake Man who frequently tossed pancakes to students in the air. (Sid Peterson/The Daily Iowan)

With finals week bearing down on University of Iowa students, the IMU has stepped up to relieve the pressure with various activities and services.

Finals week kicked off Monday morning with a pancake breakfast served up by the famous “Pancake Man.” Long lines of students were stylishly served batches of pancakes in the UI finals week tradition.

UI Sophomore Khadidja Elkeurtim, who has visited the pancake breakfast every semester, said she especially appreciates the free food the university provides during finals week and the cost-efficient nature.

“People aren’t going to have the time that they usually do to cook, and a lot of us are economically insecure,” she said. “It shows that the university cares about the well-being of its students.”

The IMU partnered with Panchero’s again this semester to treat the students with free chips and queso in the evening. For other food needs, the IMU also offers such snacks as popcorn and healthier options including fruit and granola bars.

Today from 7 to 8 p.m., the IMU will also serve students free pizza.

One of the newest additions to the services provided by the IMU is a Q&A session with professors and teaching assistants from some of the biggest lecture classes.

The IMU also provides study spaces intended to be quiet enough for students to focus on their upcoming exams and projects.

Another popular attraction making its return: therapy dogs in the evening. Monday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m., students turned out to see and play with the visiting canines.

For one of the dogs, a husky and Labrador retriever mix named Dexter, UI’s finals week has been a mainstay of his therapy-dog career.

“We’ve been to every finals week since he was certified,” said Loretta Gronewold, Dexter’s owner. “He remembers the building.”

By having a long history with finals week, Gronewold said there were some differences, including a lower student turnout. However, she attributed the low turnout to the nicer weather outside compared with previous semesters. She also said some students return year after year, recognizing Dexter.

Gronewold and Dexter also visit schools, hospice patients, and the UI law school as part of their volunteer work.

Sophomore student Allie Carey is one of the students who appreciates the services that the IMU provides and how it gets people out of their rooms.

“It’s a nice stress reliever because a lot of people love dogs; it’s a good relief,” she said.

Carey also said it would be a good idea for the university to look at doing these kinds of events for different parts of the school year as well, like the midterm seasons around spring and Thanksgiving breaks.

The therapy dogs will make another appearance Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Other relaxation activities at the IMU include massages and yoga in the evening.

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