It is not to be disputed that the act of working out not only transforms the body, but it has additional emotional benefits. In order to address all the components of a healthy lifestyle, the College of William & Mary has decided to “melt” the eight dimensions of wellness with an Integrative Wellness Center.
The center will include campus recreation, the health center, the counseling center, the health promotion specialist and an authentic excellence and mindfulness area. All the departments will come together in the form of a new building on campus, set to open the Fall semester of 2017.
According to Linda Knight, the director of campus recreation at the college, this idea started approximately five years ago when the college’s vice president of student affairs reorganized the student affairs division with a strong focus on the health and wellness area. “As we see our students, we know they are coming to us not quite as resilient as they were 10 years ago, and certainly having some issues that they need help with. The concept was that if we put us all together, we can look at total wellness,” explained Knight.
Once the building is up and running, the goal is that a student can walk in without another student knowing why they’re entering the IWC, and leave “a little bit better off from the standpoint of wellness than when they came in,” said Knight.
Besides a few more meetings, Knight explained her role, as the director of campus recreation hasn’t changed much. The campus recitation department will primarily focus on programs in the IWC – an area Knight says recreation has the most experience. Campus recreation has also taken over marketing for the IWC, displaying posters that explain the forthcoming building and the dimensions of wellness.
“We’re a fairly high academic school. So when our students get here, they’re in the top 5 to 10 percent of their [high school] class. When you get to a school where everyone is the top 5 to 10 percent of their class, you become average. And that’s not something they really understand,” added Knight. “One of the areas we’re pushing … is trying to look at students and helping them to understand that we want to have authentic excellence instead of fear-based excellence.”
Knight quoted studies that state when students participate in campus recreation, grades and overall mental attitude improve. She explained that the facilities role in the IWC will be to continue to promote physical wellness with the assistance of the additional student affairs departments to reach overall student wellness.