SRU’s Commission on Wellness establishes a Meditation Room


Woman meditating

Mindfulness, including the practice of meditation, is an emphasis of Slippery Rock University’s President’s Commission on Wellness. The PCW opened a Meditation Room in the Smith Student Center, Room 316.

April 5, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — A recent emphasis to promote a healthy lifestyle is the practice of mindfulness, which is being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment to create a sense of calm. Although many people see mindfulness as something only practiced by monks or free-spirited flower children, the activity has become mainstream enough that students at Slippery Rock University and members of the President's Commission on Wellness have incorporated it into their programming.

"College students are often very busy running around to classes, work and their different organizations, so it's important for them to be mindful, taking time to step back from all that as a way to disconnect and center themselves," said Sarah Allen, a senior exercise science major from Saegertown. "Once you incorporate things like yoga or meditation into your day, it's more realistic and less hokey. In general, most college students are open to it and I think younger people tend to be more progressive when it comes to mindfulness."

Allen headshot


The PCW is a group of SRU students, facility, staff and community members that facilitate initiatives that promote awareness of wellness by empowering people to make choices and enact behaviors that positively influence their wellness. One of the Commission's goals was to secure a small room in the Smith Student Center, Room 316, exclusively for meditation.

"(Meditation and other mindfulness practices) are needs right now and technology is a big cause for it," said Hannah Brewer, associate professor of physical and health education and PCW co-chair. "In today's society there are so many opportunities to be connected and engaged, whether that's through email or smartphone, that we no longer have that time when we are just at rest or being 'present.' It's consistent in society that a lot of people feel stressed, rushed and anxious, and it's important that they practice some type of mindfulness."

The Meditation Room is available to all students during regular SSC hours. The PCW is planning to decorate the room later this semester.

"Expert meditators are able to separate themselves from distractions regardless of their surroundings, but having a meditation room is good for beginners or for people who just want to have that separate space, especially if you live in the residence halls with a roommate and you don't have the ability to get that alone time that you might need," Allen said. "Having this space available is helpful, even if it's just in the middle of the day and you need to take a break before or after an exam, this is a good centralized space on campus."

Mindfulness can address several of the seven dimensions of wellness identified by the PCW, especially emotional and spiritual wellness. The commission also provides support for other initiatives that address environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical and social wellness.

"Our goal is to bring a culture of wellness and awareness to campus," said Joy Urda, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and PCW co-chair. "It's great that we have a campus that emphasizes wellness and supports all the dimensions of wellness, because of all the opportunities and resources that create this environment, but it's also important for people to take advantage of them."

The PCW supports many programs and initiatives throughout the academic year. The following are remaining events and programs for the spring semester:

TRAILS 5K, 9 a.m., April 27, Storm Harbor Equestrian Center. A run/walk to benefit SRU programs for youth with autism spectrum disorders. Click here for more details.

Power of the Pride Powerlifting Meet, 10:30 a.m., April 27. Sponsored by the Rock Powerlifting Club. Email Cale Walker at for more details. SRU students can visit the event's CORE page to register.

Day of Play, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 2, in The Quad, with the Physical and Health Education Department offering recreational activities meant to bring attention to the importance of play, in terms of physical, emotional and social wellness, for people of all ages. Contact Traci Zillifro at 724.738.2284 for more details.

Pittsburgh Marathon SRU Campus Challenge, May 5, in Pittsburgh. SRU student, faculty or staff members can contact Erin Fisher at to get a training shirt. Participants should designate SRU on the Pittsburgh Marathon registration form.

Introduction to Forest Therapy, 2-4 p.m., May 7, Macoskey Center. A guided, meditative hike in the Macoskey Center forest, ending with a tea ceremony in the Macoskey Center's new Eco-Therapy Garden. Participants should dress for the weather and wear walking shoes. Click here to register.

Yoga for faculty and staff, Tuesdays, 4:45-5:45 p.m., 225 Patterson Hall. Contact Urda at 724.738.2240 for more details.

Table tennis, Mondays and Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., Morrow Field House wrestling area. Contact Istvan Kovacs at 724.738.4934 for more details.

Financial wellness, consultants from TIAA (April 16, April 30, May 8 and June 18) and Fidelity (May 9) will be on campus to meet with SRU employees. Contact Marcia Kotek at 724.738.2204 for more details.

Walk 30/Rock 30, free access to the indoor track at the Aebersold Student Recreation Center, weekdays, 6-8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact the ARC at 724.738.4800 for more details.

Wellness Wednesdays, blood pressure screenings and basic assessments at the ARC each Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Contact the ARC at 724.738.4800 for more details.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |