Residence Life to launch new ‘wellness’ floor

photo by Anna Delph
photo by Anna Delph

A new floor, dubbed the “wellness” floor, is anticipated by residence life to be started as a pilot program at the beginning of the next academic year. Brandon Jacob, resident director of Noordewier-VanderWerp and the mastermind behind the idea, explained that the floor is aimed at helping students become more intentional about living a healthier lifestyle.

“Basically it’s going to be a living-learning community that is focused on helping students live towards wellness,” said Jacob. “Some of that is going to be helping students sleep well, learn the benefits of rest and sleep and focus on things like nutrition and exercise.”

A description of the floor by residence life explained, “as American culture continues to value business over solitude and production over reflection, it is vitally important we don’t lose our ability to experience rest and rejuvenation. The simple practice of sleep has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, reduce depression and promote learning and brain development.”

According to Jacob, the idea was in the works five to six months ago and was inspired by his passion towards healthy living.

“As I look at college students, I know there are a lot of challenges on their time, especially in regard to whether or not they’re going to get a good night sleep,” said Jacob. “As I thought about that, I felt a desire to create something a little bit more, to give students a chance to maybe be a part of something that helps them develop good habits related to these areas.”

While the location has not been determined, residence life is exploring the Timmer floors as a possibility for the new floor, due to its fluctuating history between being floors for either upperclassmen or first-year students.

In order to make this floor a reality, Jacob highlighted the importance of generating student interest in the floor.

“If we don’t drum up enough interest in the floor then it’s not necessarily worth designating an entire floor when we’ve got a bunch of incoming freshmen who we need to place in the residence halls,” said Jacob.

So far, the floor has already garnered a high level of student interest.

“We have gotten a pretty good spread of interest between men and women, so we’re looking at the possibility of having a co-ed floor, much like van Reken,” said Jacob.

For its first year, the floor will be pitched to students who will be sophomores next year, but if the first year goes well, future years will see a mix of underclassmen, much like the van Reken floors.

Students living on the floor will be expected to incorporate a Sabbath orientation into daily living, abide by extended quiet hours and establish goals for themselves in areas including the amount of physical activity they do and the food they eat.

While students are not required to go to sleep by midnight, Jacob explained that they would set their own goals on “what is going to be good for [them], what [they] want to accomplish for [themselves],” He also helps the floor will “try to help people be true to the goals they set.”

Floor programs will include a floor retreat and two guest lecturers every semester to educate students on the different areas of wellness. Future iterations of the floor could include the development of an accompanying academic class.

Jacob also pointed out that the floor would emphasize a community aspect and would not be a place for students to come in and get a good night’s sleep and be by themselves.

“We want people to come here knowing that they’ll be investing in the people around them and encouraging each other to live towards wellness,” said Jacob.

Students who are seeking to develop these new habits are also welcome to apply.

“I know that students are going to be coming in on all different kinds of platforms,” said Jacob. “So really I’m OK with people coming at different areas and setting goals related to how they actually want to grow in these areas.”

For more information on the floor, contact Brandon Jacob at bj24@calvin.edu; 616-526-6862

About the Author

Alden Hartopo

Alden Hartopo is the Chimes Online Editor for the 2014-15 school year. He is a senior from Jakarta, Indonesia studying Economics and International Relations. Alden believes that campus journalism is key to maintaining transparency and communication between the college and its stakeholders. He has previously served as the Campus News Co-Editor for the 2013-2014 school year.

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