Speak the Language of Wellbeing at NIRSA 2024

N24 Register Photo 02 Wide 1
Courtesy of NIRSA

By NIRSA Wellbeing Briefing Work Group

The Wellbeing Briefing Group recently reached out to a few presenters at this year’s NIRSA Annual Conference to find out more about what is on the mind of recreation professionals when it comes to wellbeing work on their campus.

We have highlighted just a few of the presentations you will see this year in Phoenix. While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope that it motivates you to seek out these opportunities to learn more about this evolving conversation. Not heading to Phoenix? We encourage you to preview these sessions to dive further into the language of wellbeing and foster a deeper understanding of how you can impact this work on your own campus.

Highlight 1: Speaking the Language of Wellbeing

Have you ever hesitated when entering the wellbeing conversation because you don’t feel like you can speak the lingo? Presented by Gregory Reinhardt, University of Washington, Marti Tomlin, University of Richmond, and Kevin George, Rowan University, this session will discuss and define terminology and concepts used in wellbeing conversations within and beyond the Recreation circles across campus. At the end of this session, attendees will feel more confident in supporting wellbeing conversations that can impact your campus.

Highlight 2 : Decolonizing the Dimensions of Wellness

Break free from the constraints of seeking perfect balance and focus on the interconnectivity of self and the natural world. Presented by Condor, Manager at the Oasis Wellness Center at California State University Northridge and Victoria Lopez-Herrera, Senior Associate Director at the University of Texas at San Antonio will free participants from the constraints of seeking a perfectly balanced circle and focus on the interconnectivity of all aspects of one’s being, including the connection with the natural world. Participants will measure the over and under-energized dimensions of wellness/wellbeing through the lens of circular connection and energy. Exploring the circle of knowledge of self and the power one has over one’s life will allow participants to uncover their own medicine through accepting imperfection and moving energies to areas that best support their personalized journey.

Highlight 3: Why don’t they teach that in school? Life skill primer and resources.

Campus recreation staff are regularly asked questions by students, student staff, and other professionals about time management, coping skills, money management, health care, nutrition, sleep, and more. It is surprising that knowledge we need for everyday functioning is not taught in the classroom. During this session—presented by Elyssa Stein, Arizona State University, Eric Stein, Stanford University, Jacqueline Hamilton, College of Nursing and Health Sciences Faculty at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi—attendees will revisit these basic skills to help students thrive. The idea for this session came from one of the presenters in healthcare administration, who identified a lack of information for these necessary life skills.

Highlight 4: The Raw Truth: What Students in Campus Recreation Are Combating and Why Departments Need to Prioritize Mental Health

Kayla Irlbeck, Coordinator, Intramural Sports at Sacramento State and Hannah Williams, Coordinator of Intramurals and Clubs at Emory University are investigating the state of student staff mental health in campus recreation and how their roles in campus recreation affect their mental health. A brief survey is being conducted and results will be presented at the 2024 NIRSA Annual Conference. Please help with this project by filling out the survey if you are currently a student, or by spreading the word if you are a professional!

Thank you in advance for your help! If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please contact the presenters at [email protected] and [email protected].

Read more, including mainstage speaker highlights, here.

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