University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wellness lounge improvements underway

Wellness is integral to the curriculum of a School of Medicine and Public Health. So should be the wellness of its students. Cognizant of that fact, the HSLC renovation group understood the need to address the existing wellness lounge in advance of the remainder of the HSLC Enhancement project.

The work done to date is a precursor to planned future improvements. In response to student requests, the wellness room has been improved with the addition of athletic flooring and yoga mats as well as aesthetic enhancements such as Badger pride wall graphics.

Future improvements include plans to subdivide the space with moveable screens; cushions for meditation; increased storage; mirrors, a barre, and additional fitness including exercise balls, plyometric boxes, weighted vests and ankle weights, resistance bands, and foam rollers.

These enhancements are in response to a 2015 Wellness Inspired Student Enrichment (WISE) Committee survey to which a majority of students responded that their physical (84%) and mental health (84%) had declined, and that they had experienced anxiety (69%) or depression (51%) attributable to medical school. Sixty percent of survey respondents cited a “lack of time for self care and personal wellness” as a top stressor, and many requested better access to meditation, prayer, exercise, and other activities to enhance their well-being.

With the recent and planned improvements, the wellness lounge will provide a safe and peaceful non-study space to support the diverse wellness needs of the school’s student body. The Wellness Inspired Student Enrichment committee has worked to incorporate wellness into the medical school curriculum through weekly wellness activities, the annual wellness survey, and advocating for a wellness room and wellness policy changes.