Students and staff collaborate for year of wellness

Students exercise in boot camp-style fitness classes. Student volunteers lead the classes as part of the College's year of wellness.

Fitness classes and guest speakers are encouraging students to be aware of the year of wellness – but what does this really mean?

Each year, the college explores  a different element of the liberal arts education through its theme years.  Theme years focus different activities, lectures and events that occur on campus around a central theme.

This year’s events highlight seven different areas of wellness: physical, intellectual, financial, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental. A few continuous programs to look out for throughout the year are the daily student-lead boot camp classes and the FITT Friday Lunch Lecture Series.

Senior associate athletic director Melissa Walton serves as co-chair for the wellness theme year committee. Walton hopes students will learn the importance of overall wellness this year by engaging in the college-offered classes and activities.

“I believe we have the opportunity to educate everyone that wellness isn’t just physical, but about all seven areas of wellness and how they impact your life,” Walton said. “Achieving wellness is a choice, and over the next year, you will have the choice to participate in activities and events that will help you take the next step in your personal path to wellness.”

As part of the year of wellness, students will be leading “boot camp” style classes at the Dow’s indoor track on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-9 a.m. The classes are circuit based, and use exercises that utilize body weight to enhance lower body, upper body and core strength, in addition to cardiovascular health and endurance.

The classes are lead by exercise science and kinesiology students Paige Trudeau, Howell senior, Alex Pool, Linden senior and Taylor Tuszynski, Bridgman senior.

“The classes can get pretty intense,” said Trudeau, “but students can choose to not do particular exercises if they don’t feel comfortable. It is a 100 percent judgment free zone.”

Pool stressed the importance of the individualized approach the class offers to students.

“Each person sets their own pace and intensity for the exercises,” Pool said. “We hope that this class will provide motivation to people looking to get into shape or maintain their current fitness level by exposing them to different exercises that do not require any equipment, and are therefore more accessible and appealing to people who aren’t looking to spend extra money on a gym membership.”

In addition to the boot camp, the FITT Friday Lunch Lecture Series will be held in the KC Stack from 12-1 p.m. every third Friday of the month. Each lecture speaker presents talks based around the seven different areas of wellness.

These lectures are open to the community as well. Heather Betz, assistant professor in kinesiology and co-chair for the wellness theme year committee, hopes that it will bring the college and the community closer together—another area of focus for the college this year.

“We want to make sure we are bridging the divide between the community and the college,” Betz said.

Additional events in conjunction with the community include a trick-or-treating event with kids from the Albion public schools on Halloween called the Albion Community Halloween Wellness Walk. Student groups will pass out candy, but also hand out flyers with information on the different dimensions of wellness to community children.

“Our goal for the year is not only to create new programming, but to highlight the fact that there’s lots of things going on on campus that fall under wellness,” Betz said. “Whether it be speakers coming to campus for a certain department that could interest the whole community, or other events that could spread word.”

Betz and her students also hope to leave an impact on students’ lives after they graduate college.

“So many health problems that exist in our society today are related to sedentary living,” Trudeau said. “I believe that the more physical activity opportunities offered to students, the more likely they are to increase their activity levels and decrease their risks of future health issues. Physical activity also has a positive association with academic performance and mood, which are also key components in overall wellness.”

An additional event for the wellness year begins Oct. 1 with the 100 million step challenge in concurrence with the start of October, which is national walking month. Students, faculty, staff and alumni can all track their steps with their personal pedometers, FitBits or iPhone apps (try Moves or Footsteps) and log them online at Students who accumulate 100 thousand steps will receive a free T-shirt.

“This is a way to get the whole college community moving,” Betz said.

Any additional questions about the year of wellness and how you can make it a part of your daily life can be answered by any one of the wellness theme year committee members.

Photo by Taylor Tuszynski

About Alex Carey 60 Articles
Alex Carey is a senior from Birmingham, Mich. She majors in communication studies and double minors in French and business/organizations. She runs varsity cross country and is a member of the Delta Gamma sorority and Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexxCarey.

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