Campus Recreation and Counseling and Psychological Services are teaming up to provide students with more options to relieve stress and anxiety.

Mark Ferguson, executive director of Campus Recreation, said he thinks the collaboration that has been in the works for a year and a half will not only help student’s physical health, but also their mental health.

“Our focus at Campus Recreation has really shifted in the past few years with the focus on overall wellbeing,” Ferguson said. “Your emotional health, physical health and social health — all those types of things are interconnected. We’ve recognized that all our services on campus need to acknowledge that as a collective effort.”

This collaboration works on a referral basis. Students who go to CPS for low anxiety and stress levels are referred to Campus Recreation. There, they will meet with the assistant director for fitness to discuss what their goals might be and what they’re looking to achieve.

Ferguson said he hopes the program pushes down the barriers that some students face going into some of the facilities. He believes students should feel more comfortable in the spaces Campus Recreation has to offer.

Paul Castelino, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said the collaboration has the potential to help students reduce stress while also breaking down some barriers or preconceived notions about Campus Recreation.

“Many (students) felt going to Campus Recreation was overwhelming, not knowing where to start or how to use them,” Castelino said. “So, this collaboration is really to help CPS clients to get oriented to the Rec Center, become more comfortable and begin to use their wonderful resources as part of their treatment.”

Julia Fulk, a freshman studying psychology pre-physical therapy, has not gone through CPS to collaborate with Campus Recreation. However, she goes to Ping a few times a week and said physical activity is her number one way of relieving stress.

“It’s kind of like my time that I don’t have to worry about any of my classes or studying,” Fulk said. “I can just get all of the stress out by getting all of my energy out.”

Campus Recreation provides students with many activities, such as classes, a climbing wall inside of Ping Center, outdoor trips, intramural and club sports program as well as wellness presentations and workshops. It also has different facilities, like the Bird Arena, the Aquatic Center, the golf course, Walter Fieldhouse and the challenge course.

Fulk said her favorite class to attend is the high intensity training class because she feels motivated and is also able to get a good a good workout out of it.

The two offices ran a pilot in the Spring Semester last year when counselors began referring students to Campus Recreation. The program started with approximately 11 students.

The collaboration is currently implemented but is not advertised directly. Instead, Ferguson said they are working to promote and communicate the benefits of the program.

“At this point, we talk to our clients during drop in appointments or with our ongoing clients about this great collaboration and if they are interested, then we refer them to Campus Rec.,” Castelino said.

Ferguson said there are other schools doing programs similar to this, and Ohio University’s offices have communicated and learned from them. 

While there is not data on this program yet due to it being so new, both Campus Recreation and CPS have heard positive feedback from students who followed up with the referral provided by CPS.

“We have a greater potential outside of our individual departments to have a larger more positive impact on our students,” Ferguson said. “I think this collaboration is an example of one of the ways that we are trying to do that.”


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