The University of Mary Washington is getting a big boost from Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC), which has committed to a sponsorship that will provide support for Campus Recreation (CREC) over the next five years.
“Mary Washington Healthcare exists to improve the health of all people in the region,” said MWHC Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Eric Fletcher. “Part of that commitment is to promote wellness, so partnering with UMW in these efforts is a natural connection. We hope our sponsorship helps students, faculty and staff stay healthy and enjoy life to the fullest.”
A portion of the funds will go toward campus events that encourage wellness, exercise and outdoor activities, like last week’s Big Ash Bonfire and Campout with Residence Life, and November’s Largest Gratitude Meditation.
But Director of Campus Recreation Kelly Shannon said the sponsorship will mainly help expand operating hours for the fitness center. More than 70 percent of the student body takes group classes, works out or participates in other activities such as intramural or club sports, she said. “MWHC’s sponsorship is helping us better serve our mission of promoting student success, learning and personal wellness.”
That’s a win for senior Kendall Wilkinson, facilities student coordinator, who said the fitness center’s atmosphere was different during the pandemic due to limited hours and CREC’s reservation system.
“COVID posed a challenge because students weren’t able to work out together, make friends and find their community,” she said. “We’re now also able to sell outside memberships once again to bring in revenue.”
Fifth-year student Kevin Dougherty said those memberships are critical for him, since he’s paid by the number of people who take the yoga classes he teaches. “I’ve definitely seen an uptick in attendees this semester,” he said, touting the benefits of regular exercise. “Any kind of movement is helpful physically, but it can also help you cope with stress.”
Sophomore Olivia Pearce, a fitness center attendant, is a fan of the monthly professional development workshops – also covered through MWHC’s sponsorship – that CREC employees are required to take.
She recently participated in one featuring a representative from UMW’s Office of Disability Resources, in which she and her peers discussed how they might help a patron in a wheelchair. “It makes you think a little harder about what you are responsible for in your job,” she said.
Joining UMW’s Club Swim team during her freshman year, senior Tess Wilhelm is now the student club sport coordinator for more than 20 teams. She said that CREC offers many great career opportunities where “students can both work and work out.”
“Being a part of Campus Recreation has been vital to me both as a student and young professional,” Wilhelm said. “This funding from MWHC has helped to ensure that this invaluable community resource is able to not only continue but to thrive.”
For information on sponsorships at the University of Mary Washington, please contact the Office of University Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-654-2059.