STUDENT INITIATIVE BECOMES A REALITY
After a journey of feasibility studies, student surveys, and a student referendum vote, the new CU Denver Wellness Center broke ground on Thursday, Sept. 22.
The road to the groundbreaking ceremony was years in the making, and the project was spearheaded by students in CU Denver’s Student Government Association (SGA). The idea for a Wellness Center came from students who wanted a building that could be their own and a place where CU Denver students felt a sense of community. The groundbreaking ceremony took place outside the Student Commons building in the parking lot that will host the new Wellness Center entrance in 2018.
“This student-led holistic approach to a facility will bridge the gap to a welcoming and inclusive environment to all students, faculty, and staff at CU Denver,” Amber Long, the new director of the Wellness Center, said. “This building will have something for everyone. It is my goal that at some point some student will walk through the doors and utilize our services.”
The ceremony included several swag giveaways, including T-shirts and jump ropes, CU Denver yoga mats, and CU Denver drawstring backpacks. To receive some of the giveaway prizes, students had to participate in the six dimensions of wellness that were hosted by student organizations. Those dimensions of wellness included more than just physical wellness: they focused on creative, emotional, spiritual, social, and financial wellness as well. After getting six stamps for their achievements, students could redeem their ticket for a prize.
Every student who attended the ceremony received a voucher for a free smoothie bowl catered by vegan food truck Ba-nom-a-nom. Students could participate in a rock climbing wall as well as visit other student organization booths. The event also encouraged students to snapchat the groundbreaking ceremony and even included two geotags specific to the event. Students could choose to pose with a filter that displayed hardhats on their heads or simply use the geotag.
The groundbreaking ceremony attracted many people to the CU Denver Redwood Parking Lot. Bruce Benson—the president of the University of Colorado system—and three CU Regents came to Auraria Campus to watch the ceremony. Several alumni came back to attend, including former SGA presidents Ronson Fox and Jordan Alvarez, as well as former Vice President Lubna Mazin.
The Wellness Center will include a swimming pool, rock climbing wall, basketball courts, and classrooms. “Perhaps what’s most important is that you’ll be right here on Auraria Campus, knowing that you are surrounded by your fellow students,” CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell said.
After speeches were given, all the people who had been involved in the planning process put on hardhats and held gold and silver shovels for photographs. “This was a historic day for all CU Denver students, staff, and faculty,” current SGA President Alex Pongphachanxay said. “I hope the Wellness Center will bring a lot more community to campus. It will build more of an identity for us and will be a second home for students.”
Construction on the Wellness Center is expected to be completed by the spring of 2018.