Inspired by TheSkimm, longer than the e-announcements, created with your short attention span in mind.

By Jaimee Hood

Although life at Bethel will look different this fall, things in one pocket of campus are going better than expected.

Bethel’s Wellness Center has been open since mid-July with new regulations like required face masks and 25% occupancy. Director Rick Meyer said while these regulations aren’t ideal for everyone, they have been effective and summer patrons have adapted to them.

“More than anything, this has given me great hope for the fall,” Meyer said.

Other new health and safety policies include temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures and “mindful traffic patterns” that Meyer said will “allow our facility to operate at maximum safety while offering the best workout experience under all circumstances.”

Meyer acknowledges that there may be a need to adjust these precautions as the semester unfolds and new insights and guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) become available.

“I believe that the social experience of working out will look much different than in the past,” Meyer said. “However, the physical component and ability for someone to complete a full and complete workout will still exist.”

One of the biggest challenges for the wellness center will be managing “busy” times, usually between 4 and 7 pm on weekdays, Meyer said.

“I think as a whole, one of the biggest things our entire community will need to do in the Fall, is learn how to most-efficiently manage our schedules because most things will demand appointments or advanced planning,” Meyer said. “If we can all prepare for that and appreciate it being a small price to pay to be together, we have a great chance to thrive together during a COVID season.”

New year, new leadership.

Bethel University President Ross Allen began his new role last month. As part of his transition, he made a few key changes to the Cabinet, which includes senior leaders of the university who represent Bethel’s primary purpose, operations, outreach and stakeholder relationships, future orientation and governance.

Allen said the articulation of faith at Bethel is a “renewed focus” moving forward. To emphasize this focus in every portion of cabinet discussions, Allen announced he had asked Pastor Laurel Bunker, vice president of Christian formation and church relations, to join his cabinet team.

Pastor Bunker said that although she hasn’t had a great deal of face time with President Allen, in the times they have had to speak about his goals and visions for the upcoming year, she has been encouraged.

“He is thoughtful and carries experiences that are different from President Barnes,” Bunker said. “I look forward to learning more in the days to come.”

Bunker said the thing she is most excited about this fall is seeing her students again.

“I have missed interacting in the halls, having coffee, sharing stories, celebrating Christ together,” said Bunker. “Things will be different of course, but that is to be expected.”

She also looks forward to putting some of her leadership skills and gifts to use in different ways.

“I am a strategic thinker and like to draw on the strengths of others. I hope that my expanded role will allow me to do that,” said Bunker.

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