Freshman Caity Kubicek didn’t even have to serve detention in order to reap the benefits of the new St. Thomas Breakfast Club.
Breakfast Club participants freshmen Caity Kubicek, Ben Van Ort and Aileen Conway work together to solve a cryptogram puzzle. The three week program started Monday, Feb. 27, and will conclude Friday, March 16. (Anastasia Straley/TommieMedia)
St. Thomas’ psychology department and the Health and Wellness Center combined expertise to create the Breakfast Club, a program open to freshmen students that promotes healthy lifestyles.
“I really feel a lot better,” Kubicek said. “I’ve created this cycle, and that’s what they want you to do–go to sleep and wake up around the same time and live healthy.”
The program was developed by assistant professor of psychology Roxanne Prichard and Health Educator Birdie Cunningham. Prichard said that the club’s name was partially influenced by the classic ‘80s movie “The Breakfast Club.”
“In the movie, a group of unrelated students come together and talk. They’re in detention, which is where we differ. In the process of talking through things, they learned a lot about each other and a lot about themselves, so it was a useful template. It also makes sense–we’re eating breakfast,” Prichard said.
The three-week program featured St. Thomas experts and professors giving informal lectures on a variety of subjects, including nutrition, friendship, finances and alcohol. The topics were chosen based on the results of the Wellness Center’s student health survey.
The group focuses on first-year students and teaching them about assistance the university offers.
“We wanted freshmen early on in their academic careers to give them advice that we think a lot of students don’t stumble upon until they’re juniors or seniors,” Prichard said. “There are a lot of resources on campus that they don’t necessarily know about, and in retrospect, would be really helpful if they had learned about early on.”
Kubicek commended the organizers for their willingness to help.
“It’s very casual,” Kubieck said. “Every day we write down a question we might have about the topic, and they make sure it’s answered at the end.”
Freshman Jesse Stone echoed Kubicek’s praise for the program.
“I think it’s good information for college students,” Stone said. “We’re so stressed, and we have so much going on; by getting up early, getting into a cycle and eating breakfast, we’re bettering our health.”
However, not all of the sessions adhere to a question-and-answer or lecture format.
“We went bowling one time at eight in the morning,” Kubicek said. “It was actually really refreshing.”
The Breakfast Club also scheduled optional Saturday meetings, sometimes including trips to local cafes.
“They’re (the professors) open to do things that we want to do too,” Kubicek said.
Stone said he thinks some practices taught in the segments should be made requirements for some classes.
“It opens your eyes to a lot of things, and it’s nice getting the information,” Stone said. “It’d be a good thing for everyone to incorporate at one point in time.”
The official club meetings conclude on Friday, March 16. Prichard and Cunningham will then evaluate the club experience. Depending on the results, they may add meetings throughout the year and consider creating similar groups.
Even if the group of nine does not schedule any further official meetings, Kubicek said they may be interested in meeting on their own.
“We’re getting close,” Kubicek said. “We want to continue it on after it ends, just meet at The View once a month.”
Anastasia Straley can be reached at email@example.com.