New College Park Scholars program SPARC aims to de-stress students

By Jon Orbach

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With the countless stresses of college, it’s easy for students to find themselves overwhelmed and in need of a helping hand. That’s where Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care (SPARC) comes in.

The student-led initiative, founded by junior psychology and kinesiology major Anthony Sartori, and sophomore government and politics major Kristen Brockett, works toward fostering mental health and interconnectedness within the Scholars program and becoming a platform for all types of thoughts.

“If you have an idea that increases care within the community – or if you have some type of vision – you bring it to us, and we try to make it happen,” Sartori said.

 

While the group has not had its first member meeting yet, Sartori and Brocket have a few ideas in mind.

SPARC will host the first of its meditation sessions Feb. 22. The sessions will become weekly once the core group is established, according to Sartori.

Other events planned include a banner finger-painting session, a mental health open-mic night and a refugee fundraiser.

Additionally, in the wake of Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigration from seven countries, Sartori and SPARC wanted to make sure that those who were affected had ample support.

SPARC will be holding some events related to Trump’s initiatives in April, according to Sartori.

“We want to show the undocumented students who go here – and undocumented immigrants in general – that we’re here, and we care about them,” Sartori said.

While Sartori’s primary motive for co-creating SPARC is to give back to the College Park Scholars Program, he said that the group will eventually branch out beyond just Scholars students.

The executive board has successfully recruited a representative in each of the program’s twelve colloquiums to raise awareness of the program, allowing them to relay information to hundreds of people in a matter of seconds.

With six people going through executive board process now, and with the creation of more structured ideas, activities and fundraisers, SPARC is on the rise. The first meeting will be held March 1.

“Someone’s got to show in a small community setting that we’re here to provide support, even if it’s just a hug or something simple like that,” Sartori said. “The individual impact that we make is very important, and I think that’s how SPARC really is going to thrive.”

 

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