The student-funded and supported shrine to everything wellness on the UND campus is getting used to basking in the national limelight. Recently, it has been applauded by several online publications, including Greatist, MSN Fitbie, IvyWise, Best College Reviews, OnlineUniversities.com and Hercampus.com as one of the foremost university fitness and wellness facilities in the nation.
Among the accolades, it was named one of the Top 25 Wellness Centers in the nation. It's also received a number top rankings and routinely falls within the Top 3 on other respective lists.
Some of the unique features of the UND Wellness Center that help it stand out is its Culinary Corner, Quiet Lounge, circuit deck (30-minute circuit), spin studio, rock wall, Zen Den (relaxation room with a massage chair) as well as a student study area.
Greatist.com rankings were based on students' submissions.
"We listen to our students, constantly trying to improve our space to meet their needs," said Yvette Halverson, the director of the UND Wellness Center. Because of this feedback, UND Wellness will be adding an outdoor recreation program this summer.
Wellness can be tied to academic success.
According to a Recreation Benchmark Survey conducted in 2011, 63 percent of UND student respondents indicated they have improved their academic performance by participating in wellness programs. UND's Health & Wellness Unit educates students about these statistics by hosting a Wellness Expo at the Wellness Center.
Students have the ability to experience the UND's "Seven Dimensions of Wellness" by visiting exhibits, participating in interactive activities promoting wellness and learning how wellness can have a positive influence in their daily lives.
"It is an opportunity for students to see firsthand the correlation between wellness and academic success." Dickson said.
Complementing the commitment to physical fitness is UND's dedication to healthy eating.
Through its alliance with the "Guiding Stars" nutrition rating system, UND helps students make healthy choices at campus dining halls and convenience stores on campus. The basic concept of the program is to assign stars to the food choices based on vitamin, mineral content, fiber, whole grains, saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar, excess sodium and cholesterol.
"A huge reason why I chose to come to UND was the wellness center and all it provided," said undergraduate Emily Olson.
During UND's last Welcome Weekend, approximately 2,000 students came through the doors. For many, it was their first exposure to the Wellness Center facility and all it had to offer.
"Our growing online presence through social media gives us an opportunity to join in conversations and meet students were they are at," said Erin Dickson, UND coordinator of communications, health & wellness.
"We are able to share with them more information about programs and services at a much lower cost."
Laurie Betting, associate vice president for health and wellness, added, "I believe that our true value lies in collaboration within the unit, within the division and across the campus through Healthy UND."