With midterms just passing and finals in the wings, it seems college students have little time to breathe. Battling schoolwork and a social life can be difficult and stress-inducing to say the least. But Campus Hope, one of the University’s ministry organizations, has taken it upon themselves to reduce some of this unwanted stress.

The outreach program provides free massages for University students in an effort to give back to the community. Every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m., students can reap the benefits of the organization’s non-profit massage service in room 2105 of the Michigan Union.

One of the volunteers is a certified masseuse, but most are not professionally trained.

“We had a professional come and teach us some basic skills when we first got the program running. But most of us are here because it’s fun,” volunteer Matt Mattzela said.

Students can expect a 10-minute massage of the back, arms, head and neck. Relaxing nature music fills the background while volunteers maintain a friendly conversation with the students.

LSA sophomore Alexis Garber said she found the experience relaxing.

“The massage was a great end to a stressful day, and the fact that it was free was even more amazing. I think I’m becoming a massage groupie.”

After participating for six weeks in the outreach program, volunteers find the experience gratifying.

“It has truly been rewarding for me,” said volunteer Hillary Barrett. “We started giving out free services because we wanted to show that there are genuine, sincere people out there that care more about serving the community than making a profit.”

Many students have taken advantage of the massages, but volunteers gave more massages to students during midterms. They said they have between five and 10 students coming for massages on an average day.

“There’s nothing better than a massage when your back is cramped from working,” Barett said.

Campus Hope will continue to offer free services until the end of the year because they have received such popular demand.

Last week the organization gave massages to students in Helen Newberry Residence Hall to advertise for their services and will gradually make their way to other residence halls.

“The greatest part about working with the organization is the interpersonal experience,” Mattzela said. “I’ve met a lot of great people working here.”

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