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Wellness Day questions answered: Q&A with event organizers

On Feb. 5, Concordia College will suspend classes in lieu of Wellness Day. Two organizers Jason Askvig, biology professor and Laurie Dahley, field program coordinator — answered a few questions students may be having about this brand new program. 

The Concordian: What is Wellness Day?
Dahley: Wellness Day is intended to start the conversation about wellness and provide information and resources to our student body. With the pandemic, much attention has been made on maintaining our physical health. As the administration worked to manage the physical health of our campus amidst a pandemic, the need for a sense of community and support has been noted by members of the campus community (students, faculty and staff).
Askvig: Wellness Day is a day devoted to taking time, creating space and providing resources to promote individual well-being. While this is just one day, we know that personal wellness cannot be achieved in one day, which is why we have tried to provide pre-recorded sessions that folks can use when they want. Additionally, we have compiled a list of books, podcasts, videos and articles from the presenters to help folks learn more about the sessions and allow them to further explore their own wellness after Wellness Day is over.

How did Wellness Day come about?
Askvig: The idea of Wellness Day came about from the efforts of students, most specifically Hannah Wilson and Kayla Zopfi. Hannah and Kayla brought forward student concerns through faculty governance committees utilized the process to eventually get the day approved through Faculty Senate.

How were the events chosen?
Dahley: The events were chosen by a committee of faculty and student reps with a framework of wellness that encompassed many dimensions of our lives. Many suggestions and recommendations for topics and speakers were discussed and an agenda for the one-day event was drafted and developed.

How can students take full advantage of the day?
Dahley: Students are encouraged to review the website and plan their day of learning about ways to achieve a level of wellness that will serve them well moving forward in their lives. There are several times in the day, where there are multiple sessions to choose from. If at the end of the day, you would like to hear those sessions, they will be available to you on the website. Then consider checking out the resources and learning more about various topics.  

Will we have more Wellness Days?
Askvig: The approval of Wellness Day through Faculty Senate in December was just for this year. We know that being a college student is especially stressful during a pandemic, and we hope that this day and these resources will allow folks to work on their individual well-being. Personally, while I am not sure that there will be Wellness Days in the future, my hope is that as a campus community we can continue to provide resources and have activities devoted to well-being. I hope that the website on Cobbernet can live on, advertise sessions that student organizations and departments on campus are promoting and be a compilation of resources devoted to improving the wellness of our entire campus.

What event are you most excited about?
Dahley: All of it. As we have discussed one day is not enough, and as well, one session would not be enough – it is the impact of the entire day that I am most excited about.  Will we be able to impact how people are feeling in this challenging time? Only if they are willing to commit to participating and fully exploring the offerings we are bringing to campus.  In our development of this day, I have heard from community partners who are bringing their knowledge to our program how impressed they are that our college is attempting to address these needs. But this is also a partnership with our student body.  If you give me a Wellness Day and I sleep in and binge watch Netflix, I might feel rested today, but my anxiety/fatigue/sense of being overwhelmed will soon return. We all need to unite to learn how we can take care of ourselves so we can navigate these waters together toward a healthier shore.
Askvig: There are a couple of events that I am most excited for folks to participate in. The first is a session called Forest Bathing, which is using the connections to nature to promote wellness. In the same spirit of connections to nature, I am also excited that we can have an alumna, Rachael Schauer and her True Earth Yoga studio, provide two concurrent yoga sessions focusing on meditation as a tool for resilience.

Students can find out more about wellness day on Cobbernet.


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