Turning a work day into a wellness day

UW-Eau Claire’s second wellness day brings students, faculty and staff together

Evelyn Nelson

More stories from Evelyn Nelson

COVID on campus
October 20, 2021
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Photo by Sam Janssen

Students participate in the day’s activities and relax outdoors.

Ice cream sandwiches, pothos plants and free candy brought students from on and off campus to the wellness day activities at UW-Eau Claire. 

On a 67 degree day with sunshine through the afternoon, students were invited to the campus’ first wellness day celebration, in light of the announcement email sent by Chancellor James C. Schmidt on April 8.

In the email, Schmidt said the administration knows “many are experiencing more stress as we juggle the pandemic, classes and other commitments.”

Administration has listened directly to students and the Student Senate on how they feel worn out and challenged in meeting their obligations, Schmidt said. 

The wellness day event took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 29, on the UW-Eau Claire campus mall, according to the campus master calendar

The event was hosted by Activities, Involvement and Leadership Office, alongside campus organizations who offered a variety of games, resources and free items for students to collect.

Nicole Rindone, senior coordinator for events and marketing, said it has been great to slowly reintroduce in-person events on campus. 

“It has been a really hard semester, harder than the usual semester,” Rindone said. “We know that this isn’t the best option, but it’s something and it’s fun and easy. We just thought having something outside — something relaxed and fun — was needed for everybody.”

She is also excited to see other important university organizations offering help for students through the services they provide, Rindone said.

“Of course the ice cream is really exciting and all the free goodies are exciting,” Rindone said. “But, it’s nice that there are some really great resources for students in these last couple of weeks of school.”

McIntyre Library set up a table near Schofield Hall with a display of books students could check out at their table. “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell and free bookmarks were a collection of items for students to take. 

Liliana LaValle, a McIntyre Library librarian and event host on the wellness day, said it is really important for students to take a few minutes — or some length of time — and do things that are fun for themselves. 

The library also set out a display of fiction genres to encourage students to explore alternative uses of McIntyre Library, she said.

“The library is great to work on schoolwork and for classes and research, but we also have so many things just for fun, relaxation and wellness,” LaValle said. “We want to make sure that that’s another thing that people are using the library for.”

Lily Spitzer, first-year psychology student, said this was one of the first events she has attended on campus, in-person, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spitzer, like many of her friends, was most interested in getting a free plant from Student Health Service, but was also excited to explore the other activities offered on the campus mall, she said. 

“The wellness day makes (campus) feel a lot more inclusive,” Spitzer said. “Last semester I was struggling a lot with making friends and getting acquainted with campus, but with all of these events going on, (campus) feels more like home.”

Kim Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, was in attendance at the foundation’s booth, handing out ice cream sandwiches and hula hoops for students to have.

Nora Lottie, a second-year UW-Eau Claire Foundation employee, said she was first introduced to the event when Way proposed to offer fun events — like ice cream or free hula hoops — for students to take part in.

“I think having a wellness day is super important, even if you’re just doing homework,” Lottie said. “On a beautiful day like this, I think it’s really important to have that day to take for yourself and do something that you wouldn’t normally do.”

Lottie said she was looking forward to getting a scoop of free Olson’s Ice Cream and enjoying it in the warm weather and sunshine.

Students on the UW-Eau Claire campus were excited to see a free plant booth offered during the wellness event, Rindone said.

Beth Day, a lab technician for Student Health Service, said she volunteered for the wellness event as a way to see the new era of Blugolds on campus. Day is also a former Blugold.

“Today, Student Health Service and health promotions are coming together to hand out plants and promote our services,” Day said. “We are making the best of the current situation and it’s nice that we are able to collaborate and get together with other groups on campus.”

A line of eager students stretched from the middle of the campus mall to the end of Phillips Hall, Day said.

For more information of on-campus events as the semester comes to a close, visit the UW-Eau Claire master calendar.

Nelson can be reached at [email protected]