President’s Commission on Wellness offers healthy alternatives to life’s fast pace


yoga at sunrise

Sept. 7, 2016

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SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Anymore, life can often be a mad scramble of activity from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. With work, school, family, friends, endless chores and errands, the last thing on anyone's minds is usually their own wellbeing.

That sort of misstep can result in a lifestyle of fast food lunches, scant sleep and exorbitant levels of stress that can be toxic to one's comprehensive health.

During the month of September, Slippery Rock University's President's Commission on Wellness will look to actively combat potentially lackadaisical attitudes towards health and wellness through a series of free programs and events that will encourage staff, faculty and students to get up and get active while taking time for yourself.

"The Wellness Commission creates ways for our campus community to stay healthy even amidst our busy schedules," said Blake Kramer, a political science major from Canonsburg. "It is important to educate everyone - but especially students - on how to stay on track with both school and wellness because for most kids, it is a new concept to care for yourself without any guidance."

Established four years ago, the purpose of the commission is to facilitate initiatives that promote awareness of wellness and empower individuals to "embrace wellness as an essential facet of life for all individuals in the University and surrounding communities."

Randy Nichols, professor of physical health and education, co-chairs the commission with Betsy Kemeny, assistant professor of recreational therapy.

"Our mission is to sponsor, program, initiate and facilitate anything that has to do with the world of wellness," said Nichols. "We accomplish that from a variety of angles since it really is a holistic approach to life."

The commission classifies wellness as "an active process of becoming aware of, and making choices toward, an optimal quality of life" by looking at seven categories and aspiring to address each one throughout the month's activities. While a few of these are the more familiar concepts of physical, emotional and spiritual wellness, others include a person's interaction with the daily world via intellectual, social, environmental and occupational wellness. These lessor known concepts look for self-improvement, harmony and personal satisfaction in one's work while still maintaining a leisurely balance and engagement with one's community.

"We depict each of these facets as a branch," said Nichols. "When you combine all of those branches together, that is when you will appreciate a strong and healthy tree. It is the same with any person. If you treat health as secondary, you will never be as successful as you could be."

With as many as 48 percent of college students attending counseling for mental health issues and 33 percent meeting criteria for alcoholism or obesity, concerns over and activities geared toward health and wellness are becoming much more than handing out free stress balls or five-minute massages.

"Our nation is being swept by an epidemic of unhealthy and unwell people," said Nichols. "It is time to prioritize wellness for all of us, not just for the exercise science or physical education majors."

September's Wellness Commission will be showcasing the resources and places students can utilize on campus all year, from the counseling, health and recreational centers to the nutritional options available at Boozel and Weisenfluh dining halls.

A number of weekly events will include:

  • Zumba, 225 Patterson Hall, Mondays beginning Sept. 12, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
  • Walk The Rock, Sept. 12
  • Yoga, 225 Patterson Hall, Tuesdays beginning Sept. 13, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
  • Meditation, 225 Patterson Hall, Fridays beginning Sept. 16, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
  • Falls Risk and Prevention Clinic, Physical Therapy Building, Sept. 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

A handful of "stress-less events" will take place at various locations Sept. 20, including:

  • Laughter Circle, the Quad, 11:30 a.m.
  • Heartmath (Mindfulness) demonstration, the Quad, 11:30 a.m.
  • Paws to Relax, Patterson Hall lobby, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Mobile Sensory Station, Patterson Hall lobby, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Active Minds, Smith Center, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Hope Peer Educators, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Trail "Active Meditation" Hike, Art Building parking lot, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Flotation meditation, Aebersold Rec Center, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Sensory and Nature Trail Experience, Storm Harbor Equestrian Center, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  •  Yoga, 225 Patterson Hall, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The month's marquee event, The President's Wellness 5K Run/2K Walk, takes place at 9 a.m., Sept. 24 at the Aebersold Student Rec Center. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

The month will wrap up with "Spiritual Wellness: What Inspires You?" at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Center Ballroom.

MEDIA CONTACT: Maizee Zaccone | 724.738.2091 |