community, how supportive are you of the suggestion to consider an integrated health and wellness center to meet the needs of the University community? If the services of an integrated health and wellness center were available to you, how likely would you be to use these services?”
The purpose of these questions is not to suggest a design or even a specific set of components for an integrated center, but to ascertain the community’s response to the concept of an integrated center—a concept that was met with enthusiasm in some focus groups, but with caution and uncertainty in others. We believe that a carefully designed integrated facility could create useful synergies and send a powerful message about the University’s commitment to health, fitness, and well-being. On the other hand, we are sensitive to issues of scale and cost; we understand the reservations of those who worry about whether such a facility would be trying to serve too many purposes; and we appreciate the concerns that have been expressed by those who live or work at some distance from where such a facility might be located. The concept of a new integrated health and wellness center does have the endorsement of the Student Health Advisory Board. Informed by the focus group discussions and survey results, we will give this topic our careful attention over the summer and into the fall.
Concerns about nutrition emerged in our discussions with all groups on campus, and in many cases were expressed with considerable urgency. Many members of our community want to eat more healthfully, and to do this they believe they need both reliable information and instruction and easier access to nutritious foods. In our meeting with Dining Services director Stuart Orefice, we were impressed by his commitment to improving nutrition and by the steps that he and his department have taken to provide information (now available online), to improve the quality and nutritional value of food on campus, and to create more flexible dining options. But we are also keenly aware of the limitations on what can be done within existing staffing and budgetary constraints. This is an area where despite the best intentions, there seems to be a widely held view that the University can and should do better.
Fundamentally, there are two main issues: (1) educating the campus community about nutrition, and (2) the actual dining experience itself. We believe that both can be improved.
Education includes ongoing, community-wide efforts to help the campus community be better informed about nutrition—online information about menus is one example. Education also includes helping those with eating disorders (usually students). Suggestions for improvement follow:
1. The University currently employs only one nutritionist (in Dining Services) who has other managerial responsibilities in addition to nutrition; it also provides 6 hours per week of unbudgeted access to a clinical nutritionist in UHS for students with eating disorders. This level of staffing is not sufficient to do everything that should be done to (a) oversee menu planning; (b) develop and carry out an extensive communications and outreach program to encourage