National Wellness Month Prompts Fitness Tips for K Students


The end of August is the perfect time for Kalamazoo College to mark National Wellness Month, which prompts individuals to seek healthful habits and routines. As students are preparing to return to campus, this time also provides opportunities to extol the benefits of exercise and K’s own Fitness and Wellness Center.

National Wellness Month cMUMMA Fitness and Wellness Center 2017-6008
National Wellness Month is the perfect time for Kalamazoo College to tell incoming and returning students about what they’ll find at K’s Fitness an Wellness Center.

K’s Fitness and Wellness Director Jen Bailey notes physical wellness is just one aspect of the dimensions of wellness and it’s important our needs as human beings are met with each dimension. However, more studies are showing that regular exercise provides important cognitive benefits that can make studying more efficient, while improving memory retention and focus. It also can boost a student’s mood, relieve stress, reduce the risk of illness, improve posture, curb junk-food cravings, and help students set their daily routines.

K’s $8.7 million, 30,000-square-foot Fitness and Wellness facility—funded by alumni donors, parents, friends of the College and several foundations—opened in fall 2016 featuring:

  • A weight and cardio fitness area to meet the needs of all the College’s students, faculty, staff and retirees
  • Three flexible-use multi-purpose rooms available to student organizations such as the Frelon Dance Company, Cirque du K and K-Cheer
  • Two racquetball courts and a squash court
  • A dance studio
  • Expanded locker rooms for general use
  • A health-assessment room for consultations.

The facility’s space also allows Bailey to conduct small-group programs throughout the year while partnering with student organizations such as K-Team, a student organization focused on body positivity, exercise, self-care and a healthy self-image. Many physical education classes are also held in the building such as yoga, tai-chi, racquetball, strength training, dancing, martial arts and fencing.

As students arrive at K, they will find more information on fitness and wellness programs through word of mouth, flyers and the campus calendar. In the meantime, Bailey offers a few points of advice for students looking to start fitness routines when they arrive on campus.

Do something you enjoy

“You’ll be more likely to stick with it and make it a part of a routine when you do something you enjoy,” Bailey said. “Fitness is fun and the overall goal is to continue to be active across your lifespan.”

Have a SMART goal

Follow the acronym when you create small goals by making sure your fitness goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time sensitive.

Visit the Fitness and Wellness Center during orientation

Students can take advantage of Fitness and Wellness Center orientation hours from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15. Kalamazoo College IDs will be required to access the building during these times, providing students an opportunity to use the equipment, receive a tour and ask questions.

K to Dedicate Fitness and Wellness Center

Fitness and Wellness Center at Kalamazoo College
The $8.7 million Fitness and Wellness Center at Kalamazoo College will include a weight and cardio fitness area to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff.

Kalamazoo College will dedicate a new 30,000-square-foot Fitness and Wellness Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Academy and Catherine streets in Kalamazoo.

The $8.7 million structure was funded entirely by donors including alumni, parents, friends of the college and several foundations, who contributed to the Campaign for Kalamazoo College, the most successful campaign in the college’s history. The facility will include:

  • a weight and cardio fitness area to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff
  • three flexible-use multi-purpose rooms
  • two racquetball courts and a squash court
  • a dance studio
  • expanded lockers for the Kalamazoo College tennis teams and for general use
  • an office and health assessment room for the campus fitness and wellness director
  • space for the George Acker Tennis Hall of Champions

“For years to come, this building will represent energy efficiency, sustainability, educational innovation and hands-on learning, as well as health and wellness,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said.

In lieu of LEED certification, Kalamazoo College students Michelle Sugimoto ’17 and Ogden Wright ’16 provided LEED-like auditing in the design, energy and sustainability criteria that inform LEED certification. The students are members of the Kalamazoo College Climate Action Network, a student-organized group that advocates for sustainable and effective measures to address climate change.

Sugimoto and Wright were chosen from about a dozen student applicants to work on the project after the college’s Sustainability Committee recommended diverting the estimated $50,000 cost of formal LEED certification toward a student audit, training students in the project design, energy and sustainability criteria that inform LEED.

The students collaborated with the project’s design and construction teams — TMP Architecture and Owen, Ames, Kimball respectively — to assess factors such as water and energy efficiency, proximity to public transportation and air quality.

The actual cost of their training was a fraction of the cost of LEED certification, allowing K to invest in a 12 kilowatt solar panel array installation on campus and offset 5 percent of the new fitness center’s energy costs.

“It’s a case of the administration sharing a challenge with students and saying, ‘Join us,’ ” Associate Vice President for Facilities Paul Manstrom said. “Buildings constitute a large part of the amount of waste produced in the United States each year. Putting the money up front saves the college money in the long run, while at the same time giving these students an incredible learning experience.”

Gonzalez, Sugimoto, Wright, Manstrom, Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo College Trustee Amy Upjohn and Director of Fitness and Wellness Jen Bailey will participate in ribbon-cutting ceremonies.