Wesleyan students ‘unplug’ from phones, internet

Posted By: Brent BonFleur

bbonfleur@klkntv.com

Angela Young is pretty good at Jenga.

"It’s one of my weird superpowers," Young said.

"That and rolling up sleeping bags perfectly."

The Nebraska Wesleyan Spanish major had some time to brush up on her skills, after taking a pledge not to use her cellphone or social media for 20 hours.

"It’s been kind of hard for me today because my boyfriend lives out of town, so I haven’t been able to talk to him all day," Young said.

"He was really sad when I told him I wasn’t going to talk to him for 20 hours."

Young is just one of many students participating in the voluntary campus-wide ‘digital fast.’

Students participated on different levels – some giving up their gadgets cold turkey, and others taking a just a few hours off.

"For some people it means no social media, or an hour of not doing Snapchat or whatever their level of disconnection is that makes sense for them," Sarah Berkeley, an art professor and organizer of the event said.

Berkeley says the project has created a mellow atmosphere on campus, but she wasn’t sure how students would react at first.

"I was really nervous yesterday that we were going to have some kind of mutiny," she said.

"But it’s been really mixed. Some students have said ‘I’m just not going to do it, no big deal.’ Other students are really curious of what life is like without the Internet."

In order to fill the digital void, the university provided games, snacks and even a couple of massage chairs for students to enjoy.

There were also speakers who touched on the topic, asking students to weight the pros and cons of going sans smartphone.

"It’s kind of a relief," student Hannah Richer said.

"So far I’ve noticed that not having to respond to people has been a relief, because I’m constantly reminded of the millions of things I’m supposed to be doing and I’ve really been able to be present and mindful. So, I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far."