The Department of University Recreation and Well-Being celebrates its 20th anniversary

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The Department of University Recreation and Well-Being celebrates its 20th anniversary

Clare Sabelhaus, Staff Intern

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Celebrating 20 years of providing a safe space for students, faculty and community members to focus on their physical and mental well-being, Oakland University’s Department of Recreation and Well-Being (OU Rec Well) offers programs, services and facilities that foster student development on campus. The OU Rec Well first opened its doors on September 8, 1998.

In 1993, there was a large initiative led by OU administration to enhance campus life. At the time, student enrollment was between 12,000 and 13,000. From 1985 to 2001, Dr. Dave Herman was the associate vice president of  Student Affairs and provided leadership for the OU Rec Well project. Dr. Herman and Coach Greg Kampe worked toward a facility that would be functional for students and the athletics department.

“Most high school gyms were bigger than Oakland’s facility,” Greg Jordan, director of OU Rec Well said.

By renovating the original athletics building, two separate departments were able to have enough space to function.

To pay for the facility, OU took out a $37 million bond, and in 1994, the Oakland University Student Congress voted in support of providing funding to the rec through student fees. This has since changed and is now included in tuition.

Much of the current funding comes from student support. Through tuition, community membership sales, facility rentals and ticket sales, OU Rec Well is able to keep an updated and clean facility while offering multiple programs and workshops to students and community members.

“The OU Rec Well is here to provide student development opportunities and is committed to lifelong well-being,” Marie VanBuskirk, assistant director of OU Rec Well said.

Not only does OU Rec Well focus on physical and mental wellbeing, it also offers occupational support to students. As the second largest student employer at OU, OU Rec Well provides opportunities for students to gain work experience during their time on campus.

Since opening in 1998, the student population has almost doubled and OU Rec Well is now looking toward expansion. Over the summer, OU Rec Well received a grant from Facilities Management to upgrade their lighting to more energy efficient LED bulbs.

“The Rec Center got a facelift,” Jordan said.

Along with brighter lights, much of the center has been painted and branded to reflect OU Grizzly pride, and 95 percent of the strength and cardio equipment in the fitness center has been replaced.

To help relieve some of the student traffic to OU Rec Well, the newly built Hillcrest Hall has a small, 1600 square foot fitness center that is available to all OU students. With 20 cardio machines and a full line of strengthening equipment, this center is located on the second floor overlooking the food court.

OU Rec Well works to add to the overall quality of campus life and to the university community by focusing on a healthy body healthy mind message.

To celebrate OU Rec Well’s 20th Anniversary, there will be a full day of activities on Sept 12. From a throwback dance party to OU’s largest dodgeball game, students are invited to attend all events throughout the day. A full schedule of events can be found on their website.