CUW's AbleLight Sensory RoomAbleLight College students (left to right) Charlie Pinkerton, Genevieve Caraulia, and Emily Walz in CUW's new Sensory Room.

The new facility offers stressed-out students a new opportunity to get away from it all for a while.

“Wanna get away?” That’s the theme of a popular commercial series for a national airline. The idea is that the stress and distractions from everyday life can get overwhelming, and it can be help to just check out for a while.

Sensory Room features

College students are not immune from such overstimulation, of course—especially if you’re someone who may struggle a little bit more overall.

That’s the idea behind AbleLight College’s new sensory room, a joint effort with CUW’s Department of Residence Life. This cozy space in the lower level of Chemnitz Hall (near the laundry room) is appointed with adjustable lighting, a cushy lounge area, calming images, fidget toys, a white noise generator, and even a small tent to escape to, if needed.

Sensory Room toys

It’s all designed to help stressed-out, overstimulated students self-regulate so they can stay calm, focused, and ready for learning and socializing, explained Jillian Seidl, campus and community coordinator and instructor for AbleLight College at Concordia University-Mequon.

“They can go into this room, and it’s quiet, and it’s dark, and there’s soft light in there, and they can relax and cool down before they go to wherever they need to go next,” Seidl said.

Sense of peace

CUW’s AbleLight College of Applied Learning provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to attend college. This unique, two-year postsecondary certificate program is a partnership between AbleLight Lutheran Communities and CUW to provide a “blended” model of instruction centered on their intellectual, vocational, social, personal, and spiritual growth.

Originally, the Sensory Room was only available for AbleLight students, as well as students who live in Chemnitz Hall, but now it’s open to any interested students. Students who would like to gain access should visit the Department of Residence Life to have their ID card authorized to open the room.

“This project is targeting the needs of all students on campus,” said Stephanie O’Connor, senior director of education and transition services at AbleLight. “We are all sensory beings, and we are offering a space and a set of tools to help all students regulate.”

Learn more

To learn more about how the AbleLight College of Applied Learning provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to turn their dreams of a college education into a reality, click the link below.