Get Your Zen (Garden) On

By Iris Shipley, Grace Prust, Ashley Harrison, & Rianna Jones


With University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) students gearing up for finals, some students found a way to unwind before the stressful week by making their own miniature zen garden.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, Good Times Programming hosted the Get Your Zen (Garden) On event from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Phoenix Club. The event had gathered a crowd of roughly 30 students. Students were able to put any combination of colored sand into a bowl and pick any two trinkets (such as a little animal), a mini rake, and a tree for their zen garden creations. Along with creating their own mini zen gardens, students were encouraged to have free brownies, cookies, and lemonade provided by the event organizers.

The table set-up for creating the zen gardens. Students were given a bowl and could pick any of the colored sand options. After filling the bowl with sand, students could also choose two small trinket items and one tree. Photo: Grace Prust

According to the website Japanese Avenue, a mini zen garden, like the ones students made, is a meditation device that is meant to help with relaxation. The idea is that when a person feels anxious or stressed, drawing in the sand .. “will focus your attention on the present moment and help you to relax.”

Madison Gordon, a freshman at UW-Green Bay, organized “Get Your Zen (Garden) On” as a student worker in Good Times Programming. The event has been held before in previous semesters, and Gordon says the idea of the event was inspired by childhood computer games. She says, “In middle school or elementary school, there was that app on your computer where you just press down [the mouse], and the sand falls. It kind of reminds me of that. You don’t really need to think about it. It’s just kinda like something for you to do.”

Examples of a few student zen gardens. Photo: Grace Prust

Along with the Zen Gardens, students who attended the event were also entered into a prize giveaway. The prizes stayed within the theme of stress relief with items such as an aromatherapy diffuser, a green dinosaur plushie, a bonsai tree kit, and other small self-care items. Gordon says that they plan on using a random generator to choose the student winners the day after the event.

Prizes for the giveaway are displayed on a table at the end of the zen garden line. Students were were able to be put in the giveaway by swiping their ID cards as they entered the event. Photo: Iris Shipley

Addie Popemburger, a student at UWGB,  has been to similar events like this one before. For Popemburger, it is a nice way to hang out with her friends. She says, “We like to do these things together, and it’s a great way to get out and do things other than homework.”

With finals creeping around the corner and the amount of studying that follows, creating a mini zen garden is something to do while studying for exams. Events like these can be a nice way for friends to relax, come together and connect, especially if they like fun self-care projects.


Japan Avenue. (2021, December 10). The mini zen garden, its benefits and how to make one yourself. Japan Avenue.,candles%20or%20an%20 incense%20 holder.

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