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Zuidema Named First Wellness Director
September 5, 2007

Roy Zuidema near the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex construction.Calvin College has hired an alumnus and specialist in exercise science as the college’s first-ever director of campus wellness.

Roy Zuidema, a 1979 Calvin grad with 23 years of experience in delivering health promotion programming to corporate clients, will oversee Calvin’s Healthy Habits program for faculty and staff and help administrate the new fitness centers in the college’s $49.5 million Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, currently under construction.

Zuidema wants to encourage the Calvin community to a new level of fitness.

“Calvin has gotten high marks as an academic institution,” he said. “I’d like to see that we’re also known as being one of the healthiest campuses in the country.”

He hopes to increase the numbers of faculty and staff in the already-successful aerobics, water aerobics, Pilates, exercise ball and other Healthy Habits offerings. And he’s planning incentives!

“It’s not one-size-fits-all,” he cautioned about wellness delivery. “You need a variety of incentives and a variety of programs. I could say to someone, ‘You get a t-shirt for doing this,’ and they’re all over it. I could offer another person a hundred dollars, and they wouldn’t be interested.”

Zuidema hinted that used equipment from the current fitness center might figure into an incentive plan. In fact, despite the debris, confusion and difficult access currently surrounding the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex construction -- which, when completed, will feature a new arena and expanded fitness center, a track and tennis facility, an aquatic center, and a health and recreation center -- he is enthusiastic about the facility’s possibilities.

“The next year-and-a-half, we’re going to be dealing with some disruption. Construction is going to throw us some curveballs, and we’ll have to do some creative programming” he said, laughing. “But we’re also looking at the opportunities we’re going to have with the new facility.”

Zuidema, who earned a degree in physical education, is impressed with the growth of what is now the health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport (HPERDS) department.

“Back when I graduated, it was just the PE department,” he joked.

Following his graduation from Calvin, Zuidema earned a master’s in exercise science from the University of Michigan and worked for two years at Floyd Junior College (now Georgia Highlands College) in Rome, Georgia.

“I taught and established a wellness program for the college and the community,” he said.

Zuidema then moved to the corporate world, working for the next 23 years for the Wellness Center, helping to deliver healthcare promotion programs to over 500 clients, including Alticor Inc., Bissell, Inc., and Steelcase. He developed screening programs for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and health, exercise, weight loss, stress management and tobacco cessation classes for his corporate clientele.

“My biggest theme was always that wellness needs to be integrated into our healthcare delivery system,” Zuidema said. When the Wellness Center was acquired by Priority Health, he added, that dream was realized and his workload multiplied.

“Be careful what you wish for,” he said.

Zuidema is glad to be back at his alma mater and part of the HPERDS department.

“I went from academia to business and back to academia again,” Zuidema said. “I’m loving the academia.”

He’s also excited about delivering wellness programming that’s in tune with his alma mater’s mission.

“We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation,” he said, “And our bodies -- our temples -- are a part of God’s creation.”

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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