Wellness Refresh Events Support School’s Goal for a Healthy Campus

May 26, 2017



Wellness Refresh



According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 30 percent of students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance within the past year, and more than 85 percent had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point during that same time period.


The good news is that resources are available to help students with their mental health needs. According to a 2014 American College Counseling Association survey, 11 percent of students sought individual or group counseling during the year. In some schools, student wellness, both physical and emotional, extends beyond campus health centers — and into the campus bookstore.


That’s the case at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where General Manager of the Kent State University Bookstores, Patrick Duff, and General Manager of the Kent State University Bookstore – Kent Campus, Lisa Albers, sit on a school wellness committee, an initiative made a priority by its President, Dr. Beverly Warren. In her first State of the University speech in November of 2015, Dr. Warren challenged her school to become, “America’s healthiest university.”





The President’s ambitious goal dovetails perfectly with Barnes & Noble College’s Wellness Refresh program, where campus bookstores partner with student support services, such as the campus health center and dining program, to provide students with resources to live healthier lives on campus. Wellness Refresh events provide students with information about flu shots, healthy food choices available in the dining hall and opportunities to engage with campus recreation centers that may offer yoga classes or workout demonstrations in the bookstores.


The recent Wellness Refresh Night at Kent State did all this — and more. “Students really love events like these,” said Duff. “They always enjoy the different offerings — from a free massage to yoga or a manicure — and are surprised that they’re not required to make a purchase. It really changes how they look at the bookstore and, in some cases, transforms them into lifelong customers.”


As part of the event, the bookstore partnered with six campus departments: Recreation and Wellness, Health Services, Center for Student Involvement, the Women’s Center, the Conservatory, and Dining Services — to provide massages, yoga classes and therapy dog petting sessions. Students painted their nails, reignited their passion for coloring and crafted emoji magnets. Popcorn and snacks offered “refresh”ments, while wellness related merchandise and books were displayed throughout the store (for example, yoga mats and mindfulness books were showcased near the yoga class).


Students also learned about the calming nature of plants from the Biology Department’s greenhouse. “I discovered the greenhouse during one of my campus walks and I’ve become a big fan,” Duff reports. “And the Biology Department was happy to share their resources with students, especially since the bookstore is located right in the student center.”





For participating in the Wellness Refresh event, students received points toward FLASHperks, a rewards program for students that offers prizes for getting involved on campus and attending activities. “These events have been a great way to have some fun with our campus and really get to know our students and campus community in different ways,” Duff reported.


Trade Book Manager Nicole Dech knew the event was a success when a student asked if the event was the result of a student survey. “She told me that this type of event was just what she requested on the questionnaire,” Dech recalled. “Students are looking for resources to develop their best selves.”


But ask which activity was the most popular and you’ll get different answers. “Everyone loves the therapy dogs,” Dech said. “The massages were the biggest hit,” said Ariela Watson, a Kent State sophomore. “And they’re important, too. The end of the semester is a stressful time and this type of event is a chance to relax and have fun.”


But beyond the opportunity to learn about living a healthier lifestyle, students are also using the bookstore as a resource for dealing with everyday stress. Amid the pressure of finals, the bookstore hosted a De-Stress event during study week to, “get the students out when they need a break,” Duff explained. Offering comforting snacks, and relaxing study areas, therapy dogs were back on campus by popular demand to provide stress relief. “College can be demanding and finals are tough,” Duff said. “We just want to help our students get through it.”



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