There is a student-centric, scholarly event at Bryn Athyn College that was introduced last year and has been getting learners into the library and keeping them on top of their workload. Named “The Long Night Against Procrastination,” (LNAP), this event is an idea that seems to have originated somewhere in Germany and made its way stateside. Various colleges and universities have adopted the practice, but Wendy Closterman, dean of faculty, learned about it through an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education written by Coe College assistant professor Allison D. Carr.
During LNAP at Bryn Athyn College, the Swedenborg Library stays open until 2:00am and hosts the studiers as they share a common space to tackle their individual assignments. There are prizes for various accomplishments, the café stays open and supplies coffee and snacks to hardworking students, the alumni association provides extra goodies, and at past events there have even been special guests: a masseuse and a therapy dog have made appearances, bringing some balancing calm and relaxation to the atmosphere.
Ann Buss, head of student support at Bryn Athyn College, gives us her own take on the event: “I love combining work and play, and that’s the idea behind these events. We aim to celebrate the slog of learning and study, not just the end result of a finished project.” Another objective is to help students see the library as the hub it is, and to develop positive associations with it. Buss continues, “Many students avoid libraries because they are perceived as all work and no fun, but we think we can help students feel at home there and make a positive connection with both the library and with the community of studiers that is their college. Students enjoy being where other students are and the hum of useful activity going on around them is stimulating. By having the Cafe open and attracting lots of bodies there, we create an inviting atmosphere in which students can get going and spurn procrastination!”
LNAP happens once each term, and can sometimes make a huge difference in a student’s relationship to their studies. Bryn Athyn Senior, Cat Kirk, says, “I really like that the teachers come to study with us. I was almost failing calculus, and then at LNAP my teacher helped me understand something I’d been really stuck on. I passed my exam, and I ended up getting a B in the class!”
Initiatives like this may seem like fun little blips in a long year, but as such programming takes hold, these activities can most certainly contribute and lead to higher satisfaction rates in the student body. Junior Dan Uber says, “Mostly I go to lend support, but I always end up getting some kind of help in return in a way I didn’t expect.”