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Strengthening students' bodies and minds

October 2, 2018

Western Campus Recreation has been in the business of helping students live healthy lives for more than 100 years.

With a dedicated team of professional and student staff, Campus Rec offers Western students a wide range of programs and activities – from aquatics and dance to fitness and personal training – geared to all levels and abilities and designed to help Western deliver the best student experience.

Each student registered at Western receives a membership, which is funded through the annual student activity fees. Membership includes access to group fitness classes, the fitness centre and drop-in gym activities.

And while the organization focuses heavily on physical activity and health, they also work to remind students to care for their mental well-being. Gareth Cunningham, Associate Director, Recreation and Facilities, says the two go hand in hand.

“Physical activity can have a tremendous impact on a person’s mental health,” he said. “We really want to encourage students to recognize the link between the two and pay attention to both forms of wellness.”

Campus Rec is currently in the beginning stages of a pilot program with Western’s Wellness Education Centre (WEC) called Move Your Mind. Slated to start in October, it will see students work with the WEC to develop goals and plans for how they can incorporate physical activity into their strategy for mental wellness.

On top of the health benefits offered to students, Campus Rec also serves as a source of student employment. Part-time work is available in a variety of positions from intramural sport offcials and lifeguards to camp leaders and fitness instructors. Nearly 400 students are employed each year.

“It’s a really critical experience,” said Cunningham. “These positions have students in real-life scenarios with multiple peer groups and clientele. They’re learning to lead in a diverse environment, taking direct responsibility for things like program planning or individual training, working with customers, and even learning emergency training.”

Building that competency base and honing those skills provides valuable takeaways for students to use in their


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