WellFest highlights range of opportunities to stay healthy, have fun

The event’s return brought students information and resources from a host of campus organizations dedicated to student wellness.



Lou Higgins Recreation Center, Upsprung Gym Entrance

On Sept. 16, the Wellness Advisory Council, Campus Recreation, Health Services, and Counseling Services co-sponsored Wellfest, an event that highlighted health available health and wellness resources for students and faculty, at the Lou Higgins Recreation Center.  

In addition to a variety of vendors from on-campus and off, Dining Services brought in their fall farmer’s market and provided food demonstrations and tastings and a therapy dog named Enzo also made an appearance.  

Student group Exercise is Medicine highlighted the new fitness equipment for the Rec Center.  

“Students, as well as faculty and staff, may not have been aware of the interactive capabilities of some of our new equipment, so they’re trying to introduce them on campus,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez, health promotion director. 

Wellfest also featured a table that covered faculty wellness, including information on a faculty initiative for the month of October called “Walktober.” 

“It’s a walking step challenge for just employees so they can also sign up there. We usually include some of our benefits that employees enjoy,” Rodriguez said. 

It has been two years since Wellfest was held in person. In 2020 the event was virtual and in 2021 it was scrapped entirely, so this year it was a “big launch,” Rodriguez said. 

The Outdoor Adventure Program Club, a group overseen by assistant director of campus recreation Christine Varga, was also on site to provide demonstrations of activities like kayaking, paddleboarding and slackline. 

“We really try to focus on the balance that students need to get outside, to learn, to explore and to play,” Varga said. “Everything we do you need zero experience [for]. We provide all the equipment, all of the safety and all of the instruction.” 

The Outdoor Adventure Program club has three to five programs a week with a wide range of activities, including archery, white water rafting and more. In the winter, they either move indoors or run cold-weather activities like tobogganing and ice climbing.  

“There’s usually something for everyone and for the person who’s not as adventurous, we have just chill time in our hammocks,” Varga said. 

The easiest way to find out about these activities, Varga said, is to use the new app CampusGroups.  

“Students can add themselves to the Outdoor Adventure Program group and then they’ll get emails,” said Varga. “A lot of students are like, ‘I don’t want to commit to something that’s every week.’ You basically sign up to get emails about what’s going on and if you want to show up, you follow the registration guidelines. And if you don’t, you delete the email.” 

Outdoor programs are not the only activities Campus Recreation offers. They offer club sports, intramurals and free group fitness classes. They also will partner with student organizations on campus to put on special events like kayak football. Even Greek life organizations gets involved, said Fenton Moore, intramural sports graduate assistant. 

“Currently, flag football, we have two fraternity teams competing in that and I know that there will be fraternity teams for basketball and volleyball as well,” Moore said. 

Studies have widely shown the importance of spending time outdoors on mental and physical health. Outdoor programs provide opportunities for students to socialize and connect with nature, Varga said.  

“It lowers stress, depression and anxiety. And we all know that students experience a lot of that,” she said. “It’s also a boost [to] energy, increases your focus and your happiness and just is overall fun.”