by Julie Lineback
The University of West Georgia’s new Wolf Wellness Lab, powered by the College of Education, serves as yet another step in advancing the health and wellness of UWG’s campus community and the West Georgia region at large.
The College of Education, in partnership with the Wolf Wellness Committee, recently launched the lab to accompany the variety of wellness programs and activities on campus, while simultaneously acting as an experiential learning center for students enrolled in the health community wellness and physical education programs.
Bridgette Stewart, director of the lab and national health coach, said the lab is structured around four components – leadership, education, advocacy and services.
“It provides a starting point for people to explore their health and wellness,” said Stewart, who also serves as senior lecturer in the Department of Sport Management, Wellness and Physical Education. “We are in the process of developing workshops and certificate programs that focus on developing and promoting a culture of health and maximize wellbeing.”
The lab will offer nutrition and wellness coaching, educational workshops on a variety of health and wellness topics, and packages for biometric screenings.
Students and faculty will test a variety of measurements and calculations including body composition, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol.
The lab also includes a new 10-person nutrition cart to be used for cooking demonstrations and nutrition classes.
“We encourage people to explore the quality of life versus quantity – i.e., weight on the scale,” Stewart said. “We are a no-judgment zone space that is open to all walks of life and all starting points.”
Thanks to the lab, community members also receive an opportunity to participate in the educational experiences of students, as undergraduates assist with biometric screenings and fitness assessments. Students aid faculty in the development and delivery of health education curriculum and programs.
“Students in the health and community wellness program have a required experiential learning assignment in 90 percent of their major courses, so most of these will be completed in the lab,” Stewart explained. “All faculty who work with students in the lab hold national certifications as well as years of experience in the field.”
The hands-on training, coupled with actual conversations with clients that lead to quantifiable results, allow students to benefit from real-world experiences that extend beyond the traditional classroom.
“Experiential learning provides an opportunity for creativity and open reflection with instructors,” Steward shared. “Students learn not to fear mistakes, but to value them.”
Overall, the lab provides ample opportunity for individuals to change lifestyle behaviors to move them in a direction of improved health and wellness.
“The Wolf Wellness Lab supports initiatives for faculty and staff to help create a healthier, more productive workforce while building engaged, mutually beneficial partnerships on campus as well as in the community,” Stewart concluded.
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