New Wellness Programs Focus on Students' Mental, Physical Health

Linda Hou '13

New Wellness Programs Focus on 
Students' Mental, Physical Health

by Linda Hou '13
2/10/2011

yoga class
A yoga class takes place behind Bond Memorial Hall.

In a 2009-2010 survey for the National College Health Assessment, Swarthmore students listed sleep, stress, and nutrition as their top wellness concerns. With the survey as a guide, the Swarthmore Wellness Aware Team (SWATeam) planned a variety of new wellness initiatives.

"We're highlighting wellness and that we value it," says Suzie Long, the SWAT team advisor and a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner at Worth Health Center. "We look at health holistically, and we care."

The SWATeam, composed of about a dozen students and a staff advisor, was formed two years ago through the Dean's Office. This academic year, the group sponsored a variety of physical activities, including weekly pilates and qigong classes. It also helped publicize the already existing yoga club meetings and hosted a session on the Franklin Method, which focuses on the use of imagery to improve the body's function.

Kenneson Chen '14, one of the participants in the Franklin Method session, says the instructor emphasized the mind's ability to contribute to physical wellness. "She encouraged us to pair muscle and joint relaxation with images that required vivid sensation," Chen adds. "I still use one of the techniques she showed us for trapezius relaxation every morning in the shower."

The SWATeam also offered a number of sleep clinics. This semester, a new array of nutritional wellness events is also planned.

"In order to further promote student wellness on campus, the SWATeam is planning a Wellness Week for the spring semester which will feature a variety of exciting wellness events, including a Sharples Dining Hall Take-over," says SWATeam chair Zheng Zheng '11, a biology major from Wynnewood, Pa. "We are also in the process of hiring a Holistic Health Coach who will conduct free cooking classes and workshops on healthy dieting skills."