November concluded a 30-day contemplative journey as WVU Libraries partnered with a variety of university faculty, programs and organizations to bring about the first ever Mindful Mountaineers Month. Chanelle Pickens, a WVU Libraries instructional and visiting librarian, led the initiative in hopes to connect with and engage the university population in contemplative practices.

“Contemplative practice can include any number of mind-body activities and, historically, is not new,” said Pickens, who believes in the emergence of the practices as well as the role university libraries could play.

“We have experienced an increase in recent years in research and application,” she said. “The WVU Libraries are in a unique position to not only encourage and facilitate the use of contemplative practice in a variety of university settings, but to also support the research being done in this emerging field.”


Mindful Mountaineers Month Logo


Practices included meditation, prayer, yoga, a reflective art viewing and a mantra workshop, among others. The last three days of November alone spoke to the unique approach one can take to participating in and practicing mindfulness activity.

Monday saw a forum on health and mindfulness take place at the downtown library. Facilitated by Professor Emeritus Bill Reger-Nash and Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences, the forum focused on how bringing a greater awareness and intention to daily activities – even as simple as breathing deeply, eating more slowly or walking to class meditatively – can enhance the relationship we have with ourselves, our loved ones and even the community.


On Tuesday participants were invited to “contemplate beauty” with the Benedictine Monks of St. Vincent Archabby, where representatives relayed how music and chanting can positively contribute to one’s spirit and overall well being.

Wednesday, the final day and activity featured a speech sponsored by Mountaineer Catholic that touched on the topic of faith and how it can help one find balance and success through struggles and setbacks brought about by failure.

All in all, the Mindful Mountaineers Month operated with one goal in mind through its variety of activities, which was “to help students, faculty and staff discover a contemplative practice meaningful to them.”

Through that variety Pickens is optimistic that participants were able to find at least one mindfulness practice to utilize in their daily lives beyond the month of November.

“It is our hope that the lessons learned in November will transcend the month to create space for discussion and reflection on the many positive and exciting changes our community is undertaking, along with the many existing features that make WVU, Morgantown, West Virginia and our country special,” said Pickens.

Is mindfulness just a fad? Stay connected.



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