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Friday, November 28, 2014

Students de-stress by slacking

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

culture@dailylobo.com
@TomasVLujan

Students are de-stressing before finals the best way they know how: by slacking.

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Gabe Saenz, senior exercise science major, walks across a slackline tied between two trees outside of Johnson Center on Friday. UNM’s slackline community is a small group that meets every day to relax and have fun.

By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

The slackline community at UNM — or Slackers, as they like to be called — is a small group based on campus that meets nearly every day to relax and try their hand at balancing on a rope, known as a slickline, tied between trees.

The slackers said anyone interested in taking on the challenge of walking the line is welcome to hang out and give it their best shot.

Isaiah Baca, a senior philosophy major, said he was one of the first to take up slacklining on campus.

“My friend’s mom actually introduced me to it when I moved here,” he said. “It took me about a year to learn to walk down and back, but other people can learn faster because they have us to help them out.”

Slacklining is a great way to reach out to other people and enjoy the day, he said.

“It’s a good community we have here,” Baca said. “All the people here are students, we’re all going to school and trying to keep our heads out of trouble.”

Arturo Siqueiros, a senior communications major, said he met Baca when Baca was setting up at the duck pond last semester.

Originally from California, Siqueiros was interested in learning and came out to practice as much as possible, he said.

“If I’ve been stressed out, I just get on the line and it calms me down,” he said. “It takes a lot of practice and a little bit of confidence. Once you get better it can be very meditative.”

Once comfortable, Siqueiros bought a line of his own and began to set up almost every day, he said.

“There were a few of us at the duck pond last semester,” he said. “We started setting up every day, and slowly people who were interested came by and hung out and ended up staying.”

Beth Wildman, a sophomore emergency medical services major, said she was invited to slack over the summer.

“Most people start walking forward, but I started walking backward,” Wildman said, “Everyone is so friendly and down-to-earth, it made it easy.”

Slacking has been more than a hobby for Wildman. She said it has also brought her out of her shell.

“I wasn’t very social before I met this group. Being introduced to so many people has really helped me become able to talk to people I wouldn’t normally talk to,” she said.

There are nearly thirty individuals who slack together regularly. They have since moved from the duck pond to the grassy area in front of Johnson Gym, usually around 12:30 p.m., and invite others to join them.