Wellness Center strives to cement status as the premier health center at Bethel.
Godfrey Mpetey | The Clarion
On Oct. 12, 2015, Bethel University ushered in the long-awaited Wellness Center (WLC). The Bethel community’s implementation of a facility to replace its dated facility aims to administer health, fitness, nutrition and wellness to the entire Bethel community. The sprawling 11,000 sq. ft facility offers workout space on two levels, fitting 37 pieces of cardio exercise equipment and numerous weight training and free weight stations on the lower level, the Penz Strength Center.
A fitness studio located on the second level provides an environment for the community to join classes such as yoga, Zumba and kickboxing. In addition, Biokinetics calls the WLC home as the third level expands space for assessment areas and classrooms.
Five months after it opened, the WLC continues to promote health and wellness on campus to students.
“Our goal is to serve the community well,” Wellness Center Interim Director Rick Meyer and Assistant Director Micaella Petrich said. “Our hopes are to create a community of fitness within the WLC.”
Currently, the facility is utilized by more than 400 students and faculty each week, more than double the amount seen in the old facility by this point last year.
Much of the rise in student and faculty traffic is due to the highly utilized fitness studio. According to Petrich, studio classes have given excitement to the Bethel community.
“[The studio] allows those who aren’t into weight lifting or stationary cardio equipment to become excited about workouts,” Petrich said.
With a full schedule of classes – the most popular being yoga and Zumba – the WLC studio advocates for forms of exercise never before seen at Bethel.
The WLC strives to not only focus on fitness, but on the overall health and nutrition of Bethel’s community. To do this, the WLC created and marketed an app that tracks the overall wellness of students. Users are able to record nutrition, find workouts that suit their needs and skillsets, sign up for studio classes and even check when the WLC is busiest. There are nearly 800 active users on the app, and it allows students, faculty and staff to set personal goals during their workouts.
“[It] allows you to keep a log of all that stuff, as well as have a community that will stay connected and keep you motivated,” Meyer said. “Motivation is sometimes easy to come by, and sometimes is lacking. This helps track the way you want to live your life.”
Expectations were high at the WLC’s opening. So far, feedback from the community has been positive, yet the WLC directors are aiming to improve, starting with those who may be intimidated by the facility. The Biokinetics department is offering group orientations for students and faculty to receive first-hand experience of the WLC. Orientations offer participants a chance to become comfortable within the facility before coming in to workout by themselves. Another tool of improvement has been the incorporation of the WLC and Physical Wellness class offered for undergraduate students.
“Our goal is to serve the community well. Our hopes are to create a community of fitness within the WLC.”
“Inviting these students into the Wellness Center as first year students helps gain knowledge about the facility and brings bigger numbers in as well,” Meyer said.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Meyer said.
The number of students and faculty entering the space throughout the week shows the progress Bethel’s new facility has made. With only five months of use, vendors and alumni rave over the new WLC, many hoping to have seen it during their time at Bethel. They fully expect the numbers to continue to grow as the community becomes more familiar and comfortable.