Between class and football, Austin Boyd, undecided freshman, finds time to play basketball to challenge and entertain himself at the Wellness Center on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Cortney Wood (Cortney Wood)
Between class and football, Austin Boyd, undecided freshman, finds time to play basketball to challenge and entertain himself at the Wellness Center on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Photo by Cortney Wood

Cortney Wood

Students’ health remains top priority for Wellness Center

September 4, 2018

To promote a healthy well-balanced life for students the Wellness Center administration members offer various events, services and classes to help students increase fitness while enjoying the facility they pay for.

About 850 people visit the Wellness Center facility each day throughout the fall and spring semesters during the week, and about 450 during the weekends. Along with general workout equipment, Angie Reay, director of recreational sports and Wellness Center, said the Wellness Center staff and administration are constantly working to tailor to the needs and desires of the students “to get everything they can out of the center because they are paying for it anyway.”

As a part of students’ tuition and fees, students pay a recreation center fee of $130 to the Wellness Center to help maintain and build to the facility. For the fall 2018 semester, Reay said they have added new equipment to the floor such as an assisted dip and pull machine, free weights and a captain’s chair, per students’ request, to further the personalized feel to the center to the facility.

Part of establishing a healthy lifestyle requires a balance in physical, mental and emotional health, and Reay said the Wellness Center focuses on a variety of events that promote an overall healthy life and to create a holistic wellness program for students for those who use the Wellness Center.

Smaller events to emphasize all aspects of health are scheduled in the fall semester including “Thank Your Body Thursdays,” “National Women’s Health Day” and the annual “Turkey Trot.”

“If there is something students want, they just need to let me know, and we will try to make that happen,” Reay said. “This is a really good way to get excited about the fall semester. There is a lot of good energy for the fall semester, and I always like starting the semesters because it’s so fun.”


In addition to the new equipment and events, new faces have been added to the Wellness Center.

Five new student instructors are teaching classes throughout the day: Sadie Gent, Pablo Cruz, exercise physiology junior, Anissia Jones, Bridget Reilly, sociology and criminal Justice junior and Bianca Zuleta.

“Some of our veteran instructors are not wanting to teach as much, and I like it because some of our students have a little flexibility ability in the evenings so they are able to teach some later classes in the evening,” Reay said. “A lot of our other fitness instructors have other jobs outside of this, so they are having to do this on top of all their other commitments.”

Thirty-seven classes are offered throughout the week at the Wellness Center scattered throughout six days.

Even if someone attends a class and doesn’t find the right fit, Kelton Vidal, mechanical engineering student and former Wellness Center employee, said there is something for everyone.

“You need to get some exercise to release stress and tension,” Vidal said. “I did spin [class] once, but it’s not for me, so I like doing free weights. They really listen to student input and try to help them find something that works for them.”

Class lists:

  • Aquatics
  • Barre
  • Cardio Combo
  • Core Crusher
  • Circuit Class
  • HIIT
  • Sculpt and Tone
  • Spin
  • Step Express
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

Personal Training

Last year, the Wellness Center administrators began working with kinesiology students to introduce the personal training pilot program to the campus. Reay hired kinesiology graduate McKenzie Shawn to help with personal training. Throughout the year, Reay said she hopes to add one to two more personal trainers to the team as the need arises.

Recreational Sports

Alongside regular facility usage, Mike Richardson, assistant director of recreational sports, said he is eager to implement more recreational sports throughout the semester to include a wider reach of the Midwestern population.

“My anticipation is to have the high participation numbers, but to have a more inclusive feel to our department,” Richardson said. “We are trying to have something every single day, so students can come out and try new things. I like having more options to choose from for the students to get involved in.”

Last year, Richardson said the organization saw an increase of participation by 10 percent, and because of the community investment by staff and students, they hope to see that trend continue.

“We were really fortunate in our marketing efforts and with our great student staff,” Richardson said. “We had a very low forfeit rate last year, and that’s something that’s very important to me. Our students have built a great rapport with the participants because they are their peers, so I feel like it is a culmination of things that produced so much great participation last year. Our marketing efforts were really very intentional, and we wanted to build a great rapport with the students.”

And students are continuing to show up for the recreational sporting events. For the Roundup Week dodgeball event, Reay said they swiped in 550 people to either watch or participate in the event from 7:30 p.m. until close.

Having a good structure to the recreational leagues is the reason students can feel confident in the recreational sports at Midwestern, Richardson said. Because of the effort to welcome everyone into the games and find a place for anyone who wants the opportunity to join a team, Richardson said he expects the recreational sports to have another great turn out this year as well.

Independent Workouts

Along with all the extras added to the Wellness Center, the basic usages are also available for uses. The basketball court is open for free play most times and only blocked off for special events or recreational sports activities. During those free time opportunities, students can play basketball or volleyball.

“I started coming out here as soon as I got my card because I had a membership at Falls Fitness, but it’s as big here, and there are so many machines,” Austin Boyd, undecided freshman, said. “I like the environment, plus it’s free. I play football, and I just come here for a little extra workout for myself.”

According to Reay, the pool hours have been extended and the Wellness Center staff are hoping to keep it open until the end of September.

There is a circuit station area on the first floor that has nearly 30 machines along with the ellipticals an treadmills. The first floor also holds the two classrooms set for the various classes offered. The second floor contains free weights, cycles, stair climbers and a running and walking track that wraps around the basketball gym area.

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