Students share the love as they participate in de-stressing activities organized by the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness Society. Photo by Lauren Romero
Students share the love as they participate in de-stressing activities organized by the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness Society. Photo by Lauren Romero

In the grassy Porter Meadow, students gathered to relieve pre-finals anxiety for the first ever Lovapalooza on March 9. Organized by the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness Society (BMC), Lovapalooza was designed to create time for rest and relaxation in the Santa Cruz community.

“We’re all stressed out over finals and all the other stuff we have going on in our lives — like our housemates not washing their goddamn dishes. We need the chance to come out and relax,” said Dennis Peterson, one of the founders of Empower Pathways (EMPATH), a BMC committee that helped organize Lovapalooza.

The festival began around 1 p.m. with a potluck, later transitioning into workshops in Qigong, yoga, massage and acupressure. Attendees also participated in music making, face painting and meditation throughout the day. All of the workshops were student-led and taught techniques for relaxation. In attendance were members of the UCSC community and students from another chapter of the BMC at Cabrillo Community College.

Chelsey Otis, a BMC member who helped organize the event said it was planned and executed within a week.

“We weren’t really technical or into the logistics,” Otis said. “We wanted to just go in and connect with every student and create a space where they can explore themselves and be open and not judged by anything or anyone.”

Otis said the BMC was established a little over a year ago with the goal of creating an alternative learning experience for their members. According to their website, the BMC fosters creativity in education of students, unlike the mainstream model of education, which the site said, “requires memorization and regurgitation of facts and theories.”

BMC hosts other events like their open-mic nights, held at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, that foster unity through collective thought. They invite guest speakers and lecturers who talk about an array of subjects including neuroscience and psychopharmacology.

“The BMC have awesome speakers come and talk about things that I [am] interested in. Stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily get from class and school even though UCSC is very versatile,” said a student who preferred to identify himself as Moss and attends BMC events frequently.

Some of Lovapalooza’s attendees laid out blankets while others tugged at guitar and banjo strings as they gathered around the meadow. Members of the BMC welcomed newcomers making their way down to the crowd.

“There’s a lot of positive energy here and that’s true about a lot of these events and a lot of these people,” Moss said as he combed his handlebar mustache into place. “I really enjoy hanging around the BMC because they’re so open-minded and they’re so into learning about consciousness.”

As day turned into evening, attendees gathered on the unsewn quilt of beach towels and sheets to talk among each other and enjoy the company of their relaxed peers.

Although he’s finishing his last quarter at UCSC, Dennis Peterson said he hopes the BMC will continue to host Lovapalooza annually.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever heard about an event like this happening through a student organization,” said Peterson. “I hope there’s another.”