A healthy, well-balanced life is practically a foreign concept to any college student, even to Penn State students who seem to live by the motto, “work hard, play hard.”
A well-rounded life is possible however, and Penn State students aren’t alone in their attempts to achieve one. Health Promotion and Wellness Services (HPW) at Penn State is available to all students to promote healthy lifestyle choices in an array of areas.
“Health is a holistic approach and we are aiming to help students develop behaviors that promote healthy living in all aspects of their lives,” Erin Raupers, the assistant director of HPW, says.
HPW has what seems to be an endless amount of services, but VALLEY wants to breakdown what they have to offer and go through a few of our favorites for students looking to live a healthier life.
Here’s the rundown of programs and services offered by HPW:
- Nutrition clinic
- Relaxation room
- Sexual health supplies
- Wellness Services: financial wellness, relationship and sexual health, nutrition and healthy eating, physical activity, sleep and stress management
- Brief Alcohol Intervention for College Students (BASICS)
- Freedom from Smoking program (FFM)
- Marijuana Intervention program (MIP)
Students might be unfamiliar with the term “wellness,” but it’s pretty easy to understand. According to Raupers, HPW describes wellness as “the ability to reach potential to live and work effectively and make a significant contribution to society.”
Raupers understands wellness on a more individual level. “To me, wellness is living life healthfully by practicing multiple aspects, which include but are not limited to: physical, emotional, spiritual and social wellness,” Raupers says.
With its wide array of services, HPW strives to aid Penn State students with wellness in each of these aspects of life.
For starters, the Relaxation Room offers an on-campus space for students to unwind. The room, located in 020 Intramural Building, features two biofeedback programs that help you understand and control your body’s reactions to stress, such as heart rate and muscle contraction. The zen space is also equipped with coloring books, a sand garden, brain massage audio tracks and a general comfortable space to relax in.
Speaking of relaxing, many students love to practice yoga for exercise, stress management or both. Now that all Penn State students have access to the on-campus fitness centers, free yoga classes are a lot more accessible. HPW provides yet another opportunity for students to get free yoga instruction that is specifically focused on eliminating stress and practicing mindfulness.
College is a hard time in life to eat healthy, but nutrition is so important to living a healthy life. The Nutrition Clinic offers students free, individual nutrition counseling for students struggling with eating disorders, students who want to manage their weight and even students interested in changing over to a vegan or vegetarian diet.
In addition to nutrition struggles, most college students have trouble sleeping at some point during their time at school. Whether you’re a freshman struggling with someone else sleeping in the room or a senior whose mind can’t stop drifting back to the job search, HPW is there for you. For anyone concerned about their sleep, you can schedule a one-on-one session with a peer educator, invite and educator to a club or residence floor meeting, or pick up a free sleep kit at 020 Intramural Building.
There are so many more wellness services offered to Penn State students through HPW. Make sure you check them out on the HPW website.
“These services help students learn new skills and healthy strategies they can carry with them beyond their time at Penn State,” Raupers says.
As young adults, there is always an area of life in which we can improve and these services are extremely helpful starting points to do so. Not to mention that these services, which usually cost big money, are FREE to students.
There are fees associated with BASICS and MIP for alcohol and drug violations, but these services are free to any student who is a self-refer.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about these services, visit the Penn State Student Affairs website. Students can also visit the HWP Office in Suite 001 Intramural Building, call 814-863-0461, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.