April 24, 2019
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At Denison, students are fortunate enough to have access to the Mitchell Center. This large part of campus is accommodated with numerous different types of workout machines, courts, rooms for specific workout classes, an indoor track, an olympic sized swimming pool, and other resources.

However, not all students on campus regularly take advantage of all the opportunities available to them in Mitchell.

In order to get more students to attend, a Wellness Board has been established on campus.

Lynsey Whisner, Director of Intramurals and Club Sports, Heather Borland, Student Wellness Coordinator, Beau Scott, Head of Student Performance, and the Denison Athletic department put their heads together to figure out how to help.

The Wellness Board is a collaboration between all who see the importance of wellness and how the different aspects of student’s lives can all be positively impacted with different wellness opportunities.  

“It was established because mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial health can have a huge impact on the overall success of the student,” Whisner said.

“We know that all of those aspects can both positively and negatively impact a students well being and how they perform in the classroom. Our goal is to create opportunities for students to be more positive. We felt that the best way to do this is to go straight to the source and include students in our conversations and see what they feel we are doing well and what ideas they have for change.”

Whisner is hopeful about the board’s plans for students. The Mitchell Center, the school recreational facility, has seen an increase in activity. Last semester there were 12 cycling classes per week lead by students for students – this semester there are 14. They also added a Barre class – this is in addition to weekly Zumba, yoga and pilates classes.  Finally they are looking into adding a boot camp style class and a cross training class (cardio/strength combo).

“I feel that the more group exercise classes we can provide will result in more students coming down to Mitchell,” Whisner said.  “That really is our end goal – to get as many students in Mitchell as we possibly can. Even if it is for just a 20 minute study break – exercise give you energy and can help your mental focus.”  

New ideas have already spurred the Wellness Board into action. The group unanimously thought of was that they would like a certified strength training professional in the Crown for help and consultation. Another opportunity is that they will provide is a women’s workshop. The point of this would be to provide women the chance to come into the Crown, try out the equipment, ask questions and get comfortable with being in there.

“I have been told several times by female students that they want to work out, but are intimidated or unsure of themselves,” Whisner said. “I think that if we give the opportunity for those students to explore without the crowd, they may feel more comfortable using the space during open hours.”  

The board is also interested in tackling mental health stigmas. “We know that there is a stigma with people trying to seek help and our group is trying to create ways for students to become comfortable asking for help,” Whisner said. “We want to hear from the students what they need from us and how we can help them. Our ears are always open,” Whisner said

If you or anyone you know has any ideas they’d like to share with the board, feel free to reach out to Whisner, Borland, or Scott.

“This board is here for the students and lead by the students,” Whisner said. “The three of us are listening ears.  We cannot implement all suggestions – but we will try to do everything we can to provide opportunities for everyone.”

Brooke Holland

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