Wellness milestone

UND facility dedicated to all dimensions of healthy living celebrates 10 years on campus.

Ribbon-cutting for the new Wellness Center outdoor spaces. Photo by Tyler Ingham.

Ribbon-cutting for the new Wellness Center outdoor spaces. Photo by Tyler Ingham.

One room in the Hyslop Sports Center was the sole exercise space for most University of North Dakota students before the Wellness Center opened a decade ago.

Today, the number of students exercising in the Wellness Center during its busiest hours wouldn’t fit in Hyslop 113. It’s an understatement to say that the University created a more suitable space for the UND community to get fit.

“[The Wellness Center] serves as a benchmark,” said Brandon Beyer, UND student body president. “This building is at the top of the list in terms of how it’s utilized by students.”

The student funded Wellness Center just celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Monday with a ceremony and ribbon-cutting for new outdoor spaces located on the Center grounds.

During Monday’s ceremony, Laurie Betting, interim vice president for student affairs and a former Wellness Center director, gave a history of the building’s development.

“This is not a story about bricks and mortar,” said Betting. “What it’s about is the people.”

“It was from a group of committed students that the first idea of the Wellness Center came forward with the intent to build with the future in mind,” Betting said.

Amanda Bentow, a former student body vice president and former Wellness Center director of operations, remembered the positive atmosphere during the planning stage.

“People want to be healthy and active,” said Bentow. “I don’t think that there’s been another issue on campus where students were more unified than on the Wellness Center.”

There also was a great opportunity to step up and play a role beyond physical fitness, said Jenn Puhl Winkler, current Wellness Center director.

The Seven Dimensions of Wellness that UND promotes are: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual. To integrate these dimensions, the Wellness Center has several spaces that aren’t focused on pushing your body to the limit.

“One of my favorite rooms is the quiet lounge, designed for students to take time out, reflect, meditate or sit quietly,” said Puhl Winkler.

The Wellness Center also houses study spaces, the Culinary Corner for cooking classes, and outdoor spaces for those who want out of the gym, weather permitting.

In 2014, UND joined 19 other colleges and universities in the Partnership for a Healthier America – Healthy Campus Initiative. As part of the initiative, the Wellness Center has committed to meet the 23 guidelines focused on nutrition, physical activity and programming.

“We completed 18 of those 23 criteria in the first two years and we’re finishing up last five now,” Puhl Winkler said.

The focus on the seven dimensions of wellness and the Healthy Campus Initiative has led to the Center fostering strong partnerships with entities across campus.

After the ribbon cutting for the newest outdoor courts, UND President Mark Kennedy stopped by the atrium to talk with the people who came together to make the Wellness Center a reality. The gym, located right across the hall, was packed.