The Oasis Wellness Center at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has a high-end spa feel to it, which makes sense considering the initial research team for the center visited various universities and spa locations.
In fact, the idea for the center came about from the 2011 National College Health Assessment Survey. Kaila Lavin, the director of the Student Recreation Center, said the survey revealed three reasons why college students were not performing academically well:
- They lacked healthy sleep hygiene.
- Students were stressed.
- And they had anxiety.
As such, Debra Hammond, the executive director of the University Student Union (USU), collaborated with the Klotz Student Health Center and the College of Health and Human Development to write a white paper proposing an idea.
“This space — through mentored participation in a variety of health and wellness programs, services, and activities — would help students develop the skills and competencies to improve academic progress,” said Lavin. “This would also assist students in achieving their professional goals and promote access to health and wellness services.”
EXTRA CREDIT: Here are several insightful suggestions for fitness facility operators to support the mental health of their staff and students.
The campus has had a positive reaction to the Oasis Wellness Center. “CSUN students are often amazed at how the USU, in collaboration with the university, has prioritized wellness on campus, which gives them access to such services and programs,” said Richard Cardona, the manager of the center. “For most, we are their home away from home and a place to relax, revive and succeed.”
When it comes to what programs are offered, Cardona said the geographic location of being in Los Angeles — a wellness capital and technology-forward city — allots for variety.
In-person and on-demand virtual services and classes range from:
- Reiki healing
- Nap pods
- Qi Gong
- Massage chairs
- Kundalini Yoga
- Yoga Nidra
- Digital books and wellness
- Mindfulness courses
- And more
However, the above isn’t just just random additions. Amanda Christianson is the assistant director of Fitness and Wellness at CSUN. She said students are asked for their stressors and basic health needs. In addition, they gather participation numbers and informal feedback.
“All of this assists us in crafting successful programs and services offered at the Oasis Wellness Center,” said Christianson. “While this isn’t new in the field, it is something we think is essential for continued success.”
EXTRA CREDIT: To best help new generations and those that will follow, colleges and universities are reimagining their student health centers.
Over the years, Christianson has learned a couple of other lessons in overseeing programs at the Oasis Wellness Center:
- “We also recommend professionals anticipate a larger space than what you think you need, especially including extra storage and laundry space to manage operations.”
- “Cultivating relationships with other campus stakeholders is vital when approaching student wellness. This will help to provide more holistic opportunities and expand programs and services offered within the space.”
The CSUN Oasis Wellness Center is a response to students’ needs. How is your health and wellness center responding to the needs of your campus population?