McWell introduces new services to promote wellness on campus
Andrew Herbst | Friday, September 16, 2016
In its second year, the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, also known as McWell, is looking to expand the services it offers in order to encourage more students to utilize its resources.
Kelly Hogan Stewart, director of McWell, said the mission of the Center — located on the second floor of St. Liam’s Hall — was to strive for comprehensive wellness for all those on campus.
“Our mission is to cultivate a healthy campus environment where students thrive through the integration of mind, body and spirit,” she said in an email.
The Center pursues its goal by offering programs that focus on increasing well-being in all aspects of student life, Stewart said.
“By strategically partnering with units across campus, we create well-being programming and resources that are easy for our students to access,” she said.
These programs include leadership training workshops, the McWell Sleep Program, Koru Mindfulness Training and the Annual Wellness Expo. By offering many different options for students to better influence their own well-being, they “strive to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Notre Dame students,” Stewart said.
In addition to the many programs offered for the greater health of the University, McWell itself has also undergone significant changes in recent months in order to better serve its function as a place of relaxation and revitalization for students.
McWell now houses a student break room, living room — complete with a mini fireplace — and the fort, a small room ideal for reading or meditating. Every room is available for reservation, Stewart said.
After studying or lounging in the living room, students can take advantage of the resource hub, where coffee, tea, trail mix and even strawberries are all offered free of charge. The essential oil station provides a wide variety of calming and beneficial topical and air sprays.
Stewart said input from student government and Notre Dame faculty experts in the field of environmental psychology was crucial to the planning of the renovations to the Center. She said that the “space was updated to reflect the expanded mission.”
“We have become a holistic well-being department, driven by students for students,” she said.
Concern for the environment was also a large factor in the creation of the new space. Dana Bakirtjy, sustainability communications project manager for the Office of Sustainability, worked closely with the staff of McWell to ensure that the upgrades to the center were as environmentally friendly as possible.
Bakirtjy said the “greener” solutions included reusable containers and bulk dispensers in the resource room, as well as a gooseneck spigot for the water fountain and the introduction of LED lights.
“They’re a fairly young office,” Bakirtjy said. “They were brought in to increase wellness through the student body.”
“They’re really working on the overall concept of wellness,” Bakirtjy said. “They’re always looking for new opportunities [to increase the sustainability practices of McWell].”