Wearing a T-shirt with the words “Green Team” across the front, sophomore Megan Blackstock showed a group of students a map highlighting some of the best walking routes on campus.
“This shows different areas where you can get out and walk instead of being tucked in a dorm room,” said Blackstock, who was welcoming people to the environmental wellbeing tent at the Arrive and Thrive event on Aug. 25.
Held on the first day of classes on Manchester Plaza, “Arrive and Thrive” featured dozens of fun and thought-provoking activities designed to inform and inspire the campus community to think differently about how to lead healthier, more balanced lives.
A giant coloring sheet, healthy foods, rocking chairs, and dozens of three-foot tall, cardboard leaves helped the campus community consider serious topics such as financial planning, work satisfaction, intellectual engagement and spirituality. Activities covered eight dimensions of wellbeing: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff attended.
When asked why she came, sophomore Anna Grace Guercio said, “For the puppies!”
But after petting the puppies near the emotional wellbeing area, she stayed and explored the other stations, “I want to stay healthy when I am here, so this is a good way to find out about resources on campus.”
Junior Amanda Kim liked learning more about the importance of sleep and how to balance getting enough sleep and doing well academically. Shengcheng Chen, a freshman from southern China, searched for a book at the little free library set up in the intellectual wellbeing area, while chemistry Ph.D. student Ronald Nelson carried a shefflera plant given out at one tent. “We talk about making the lab more homey, so I got a plant. Having something to take care of is a good thing.”
Alex Macre and Luis Herrera, freshmen living in Bostwick Residence Hall, won prizes after stepping into the “cash cube” set up as part of the financial wellbeing station.
“I like how the many dimensions of wellbeing are presented,” Herrera said. “I get up early in the morning and run, so I was especially interested in physical wellbeing.”
The area focused on spiritual wellbeing included a drum circle and Tibetan prayer flags. Associate Chaplain Virginia Christman explained the purpose of the squares of fabric, “People can write their prayer, or a wish or a hope on the flag.”
Equal parts education and inspiration, “Thrive” is a campus-wide effort launched a year ago to enhance wellbeing.
“The first day of class literally and figuratively sets the tone for the year to come,” said Malika Roman Isler, named the University’s first director of wellbeing last fall. “We’re connecting this community celebration to this day to ensure that all of our students, faculty, and staff are reminded from the start that Wake Forest is invested in every aspect of their lives.”