Checking up on UD health and wellness

By: Danielle Damon – Sophomore, Public Relations

Many New Year’s resolutions fall along the lines of health and wellness. Common ideas are to work out more and eat healthier. During the stressful time of college, making health-conscious choices is necessary for students to feel and perform their best in classes and extra-curricular activities.

UD offers many programs and opportunities to help students maintain their health throughout the year.
The Princeton Review ranked UD among the Colleges in America for Best Campus Food and Happiest Students, and health website Greatist placed UD in the top 25 of America’s Healthiest Colleges.

Steve Mueller, Ed.D., assistant vice president of health and wellness and director of the Counseling Center, oversees the subdivisions of Student Development, which includes the Health Center, Counseling Center, Campus Recreation and Community Wellness Services.

“The University of Dayton is investing its money in the right places,” Mueller said, as he credits the positive status of health and wellness to the four divisions working as one organized entity alongside the Marianist tradition of educating the whole person.

“In an ideal world, we would have a little more space and more health-care providers, but we do the best we can with what is realistic at the time,” Mueller said.

Mueller acknowledged that the Health Center is used to its full potential, but is at capacity in terms of health care providers and space.

Sophomore early childhood education major Cloe Cooperrider had to wait a week before getting in to see a doctor at the Health Center, due to the lack of available appointments.

“When I was looking to schedule an appointment, there were hardly any times for me to choose from,” Cooperrider said. “If students are contagious and unable to get into the Health Center at a reasonable time…[it will affect] the health of others in the UD community.”

If students are contagious and unable to get into the Health Center at a reasonable time…[it will affect] the health of others in the UD community.

During the 2014-15 academic years, about 4,400 undergraduates utilized the Health Center. However, Mueller would like to see students use the Health and Counseling Center’s services earlier, so it can better handle situations before they progress.

If the student body continues to increase, the Health Center will be in need of more care providers, but it does not have the space to expand and this poses potential problems.

However, the increase in students would help UD Campus Recreation work toward its goal of maximizing the RecPlex’s usage.

The RecPlex had 56,465 student entries during the first month of classes last semester, according to Mark Hoying, assistant director of facility and member services at UDCR.

“The Rec at UD is a great place for students of all backgrounds to take a break from classes and personal life,” said second-year management information systems major AJ Pinyerd.

“I did not know UD was ranked in the 25 top healthiest campuses, but I definitely think UD belongs on this list,” first-year education major Tyler Dinardo said. “UD’s sense of community extends into the rec as everyone encourages each other to utilize the facility.”

UDCR is dedicated to keeping up with fitness trends, and Hoying believes UD has a small-school advantage that helps the RecPlex start new programs faster than other universities. But UD is at a disadvantage when compared to larger universities such as Ohio State University. The UD RecPlex has one main-campus outdoor facility to use, while according to OSU’s website, it has 90 acres, which is something UD cannot provide.

“Old River Park would be an ideal place for a high ropes course or something of that nature,” Hoying said, “but we do not have the money to transform the park into its full potential.”

Instead of spending money on outdoor recreation facilities, one of the ways the university dedicated resources this academic year was hiring Sarah Dewitt as the first coordinator of health education and wellness promotion. With Dewitt’s new position, the university provides weekly programming regarding alcohol, drugs, stress and other common-campus issues. Dewitt holds “Wellness Wednesdays” and picks a new topic to promote each week, increasing health and wellness education and awareness of campus.
UD Dining Services provides students with local, made-to-order meals. UD Administrative Dietitian Joan Bauman said the top items bought every day include salad, fruit and water.

When first-year music therapy major Aubrie Hattendorf came to UD, she immediately noticed the many fitness opportunities and healthy food choices. However, Hattendorf also found many non-healthy food options tempting because cookies and candy are always sitting near the check-out or when students first enter the dining hall.

Hattendorf started using the UD NetNutrition guide, an online website provided by the university, to see what options were low calories and best fit her diet. A couple months into school, Hattendorf was able find the right balance, so she is able to enjoy UD’s dining halls while maintaining a healthy weight and feeling her best.

“Health and wellness is a launching point for personal growth and discovery,” Dewitt said.