Carson-Newman event celebrated for “creativity” by Tennessee coalition

Carson-Newman University is often referred to as “home” among students and alumni. A campus initiative last fall is being hailed for doing its part in upholding the moniker.

“Let’s Hug Day” was implemented by Carson-Newman prior to fall finals. The event was recognized by the Partners in Prevention Conference as the “Most Creative New Event.” Held May 21-22 in Lebanon, Tennessee, the conference was sponsored by Coalition for Healthy and Safe Campus Communities (CHASCo), which is made up of 44 Tennessee institutions.

With national “Let’s Hug Day” recognized on December 3, Carson-Newman’s Student Prevention Services used the day to celebrate healthy interactions, offering students, faculty and staff the opportunity to get hugs from C-N mascot, Talon.

Randi Morrison, Carson-Newman’s director of Student Prevention Services and Title IX coordinator, said the fun event helped reduce stress as students took finals while also opening the door in addressing challenging topics.

“Helping students understand consent is an important part of our Title IX responsibilities and preventing sexual mistreatment,” said Morrison. “It can be an uncomfortable topic, and we need to have the conversation in ways that both honors God and His instructions and acknowledges the challenges of student life—including mental well-being.”

Morrison said the New Testament verse, Romans 12:10, provides a foundation for such conversations. “When people honor each other above themselves, non-consensual touch becomes very unlikely. “Let’s Hug Day” on the calendar gave us a light-hearted way to celebrate positive touch and to help students practice honoring others.”

The University plans to celebrate “Let’s Hug Day” again on Dec. 3, 2024.