Laurier students ‘Thrive’ with the help of the Wellness Centre and Laurier Athletics

Photo by Christy Regalado

This week, Wilfrid Laurier University is holding its third Thrive Week. This week-long event focuses on the importance of mental wellness at university and more specifically, thriving as students. 

The event is appropriately running during Laurier’s busy and stressful midterm season and hopes to provide students with the opportunity to learn about and practice self-care. 

“The idea behind Thrive Week is to build positive mental health and break down that stigma,” said Karen Ostrander, director of the Student Wellness Centre. 

“It’s really all about building resiliency and [connectivity] for students at Laurier.”

Thrive Week at Laurier started in 2017 and has come to fruition within the last three semesters. Thriving refers to not only emotional and mental health but physical health as well, which is why success relies on the collaboration of various departments at Laurier rather than just one.

The idea was adapted from the University of British Columbia and involves efforts from the Wellness Centre, department of athletics and recreation, as well as the Martin Luther University College.

 “It grew into campus-wide initiative,” said Melissa Pare, wellness coordinator for Laurier athletics and recreation.

“Adriana Falcone and the I Move My Mood team have put together an awesome schedule for us this week.”

“We’ve made some physical changes to our space. Process wise we’ve really tried to integrate a means for folks to indicate maybe on paper why they’re coming in … we’re trying to be cognizant of [confidentiality],” Ostrander said.

Sunday, Oct. 21 was the commencement of this week’s itinerary of wellness-themed events with ‘Get Active! Glow in the Dark Zumba’ at the athletic complex. 

“This was a huge hit … it was incredible,” Pare said. 

The fitness event saw 78 students in attendance and is a new addition to Laurier’s Thrive Week. 

On Monday — or rather “Fuel-Up Monday,” smoothies and trail mix were made available in the athletic complex, as well as a nutritional seminar made possible through Thrive Week’s partners in Food Services, a time management workshop and later on, a music and meditation session.

Tuesday was dedicated to providing educational resources for students when using the Athletic Complex workout facilities. 

“We [had] our personal trainers working with students to do workshops on recovery and perfecting forms,” Pare said. 

Also, in the concourse, a Mental Health Resource Fair at which several partners with Laurier’s Wellness Centre were present to converse with students about thriving. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, group exercise classes in the athletic complex will be free all day, as well, a 50 per cent off group exercise pass promotion will be made available to students.

The Wellness Education Centre will be hosting a self-care and resilience workshop at 10 a.m. If you’re a fan of furry friends, there will also be a “chilling with dogs” event at the Martin Luther University College. 

Thursday’s focus will be on “telling us how you Thrive at Laurier,” Pare said. “We just want to get students talking about what they do to take care of themselves and improve their mental health.” 

This theme will include a “living your best life share” at the athletic complex, with hopes of facilitating an open discussion about mental wellness on campus between students. 

Also, an art therapy session at the Martin Luther University College and a graduate studies and graduate student wellness open-discussion seminar at the Wellness Education Centre. 

On “Feel Good Friday,” Oct. 26, free fresh fruit will be made available for students at the Wellness Education Centre, between 10:00 a.m. and 12 p.m. 

The athletic complex will be hosting more workshops and seminars with a stress buster, guided meditation, as well as a nap session, where students can get an afternoon recharge and a free energy bite following. 

On Saturday, the final day of Thrive Week, the men’s and women’s basketball teams will have their home-opener games in a double-header against Western. 

“Athlete mental health is something that’s often overlooked,” Pare said. This game will facilitate fundraising for mental health initiatives. 

All of the events are provided to Laurier students for free, and a full itinerary can be found on Laurier University’s website. Last spring, the Student Wellness Centre, at both Waterloo and Brantford campuses, held feedback sessions to provide students with the opportunity to discuss their concerns, as well as provide the Wellness Centre with the opportunity to improve and make modifications.

“We’ve made some physical changes to our space. Process wise we’ve really tried to integrate a means for folks to indicate maybe on paper why they’re coming in … we’re trying to be cognizant of [confidentiality],” Ostrander said.  

They’ve also made changes to their website in order to clarify the services they provide in order to better understand student concerns, connect students to resources and provide the most effective mental health support.

“Thriving is about taking care of yourself and putting yourself in a position to be successful,” Pare said. 

“A lot of people will hear ‘mental health’ and get all stigmatized; as in, it’s all about having a problem. Whereas thriving is about wellness and it’s multifaceted, with sleeping, eating and physical activity and your mental health. It’s everything put together and you need to build a complete puzzle of overall wellness.” 

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