The Collegian
Sunday, January 17, 2021

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1284

Total COVID-19 tests

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Current cases

3.9%

Current monthly positivity rate

Well-being Center will offer mental and physical services in spring 2021

<p>The Well-being Center will fully open on Jan. 19, 2021</p>

The Well-being Center will fully open on Jan. 19, 2021

The Well-being Center, which will offer a variety of mental and physical resources for students and staff, is anticipated to fully open on Jan. 19, 2021, after a soft opening this past semester, said Heather Sadowski, director of health promotion.

The center has been in the works for about three years, Sadowski said. Sadowski toured a number of wellness centers at other universities to identify best practices to mimic at the University of Richmond's facility, she said. 

The center has been open for students and faculty to walk through over the past few weeks, Sadowski said.  Although, the anticipated opening date, which allows students and faculty to begin using resources within the center, for the center to fully open is Jan. 19, 2021, she said. She is excited for the center to open and for students and faculty members to use it, she said.

A variety of resources will be available for students, faculty and staff, such as massage and meditation rooms, a mind-body studio, a demonstration kitchen and a salt therapy room, the latter of which Sadowski said was unique to UR among universities. The Student Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services facilities will be located on the second and third floors of the center, respectively. The Weinstein Center for Recreation will connect to the center, according to the center's frequently asked questions document

“This building provides a lot of those key pieces that we want to offer our campus community all under one roof,” Sadowski said. 

UR dietitian Karen Hensley agreed, saying the center makes it easier to have all the services addressing the physical and mental needs of students in one area. Hensley has been closely involved with the creation of the demonstration kitchen and food options in the center. 

“[The demonstration kitchen] a great way to educate about the benefits of food and the benefits of nutrition and be able to show you an example,” Hensley said. 

Hensley said she was in the process of interviewing dietitians who would oversee the demonstration kitchen, which will hold cooking workshops when the center fully opens. She said it was important for students to be educated on cooking and nutrition before they graduate and have to prepare food for themselves. 

The center will also house a cafe, Hensley said — a branch of the Organic Krush brand, which has a number of locations in New York and Virginia. The cafe will provide students with organic, healthy meal options, such as grain and acai bowls, she said. 

Student employees have been staffing the center for the past few weeks during the soft opening, which has mainly consisted of students and faculty being able to walk through to see the center. The student employees have mainly been working at the front desk to direct people, said student employee and senior Josie Anderson. 

Anderson said that next semester, when the center is fully open, employees would help with customer service duties such as book massage appointments, schedule access to the salt room and coordinate visits with the therapy dogs that will also be available. 

“It’s such a nice atmosphere,” Anderson said of the center. “Even if you’re just reading, there’s a little zen garden, and I think that would be a nice place for students to have a retreat to.”  

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With the number of resources available in the center, Sadowski said the center had a wellness activity for every person.

“There are unique opportunities to try them out and see if you'd like it," she said. "If that's the way that you like to find your wellness or not, there's something else that speaks to you."

Sadowski said she was most excited for people to use the salt therapy room, which would be helpful for people with anxiety, depression and respiratory issues. 

“I think [the center] just going to provide a place that’s dedicated towards multiple dimensions of wellness and well-being," she said. Sadowski said the center shows that we as a university care about the wellbeing of students, faculty and staff. 

While UR is in the Red Stage of its COVID-19 physical distancing framework, some of the center's amenities will not be available for students, such as massage and salt therapy appointments, Sadowski said. More of the center's amenities will become available when UR transitions to the Orange, Yellow and Green stages, Sadowski said. 

Contact news writer Westen Doran at westen.doran@richmond.edu.

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