The Wellness Center offers a relaxed setting for those intimidated by a traditional gym atmosphere. Photo by James Singer.

Anna Fascitelli Wellness Center offers atmosphere for relaxation 

For those who find the traditional gym atmosphere intimidating but are still interested in staying healthy, the Wellness Center in the Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center offers a relaxed environment for that purpose.

The Wellness Center is not just an office in the basement of Fascitelli, but rather an oasis for mindful activities without pressure, according to Team Leader and Program Assistant Hannah Ornburn. 

The 12 staffers put on events throughout the community revolving around health and wellness: Thirsty Thursdays, which is a nutrition education program held every other Thursday,  the Day of Wellness held on the Reading Day before final exams, most recently involving a body spray, sugar scrub and bath bomb making event, creative writing workshops on Tuesdays and other yoga events throughout the semester.

A meditation room, referred to as the ‘zen den’ or ‘meditation station’ for free-flowing meditation at any point can be found here as well. Logan Giroux, a program assistant, likes to take advantage of this resource. The room offers a zen environment with noise cancelling headphones, comfortable seating and a screen that students can put up to block out sight and sound for meditation.

“I myself meditate every day, so this is a good [place] for me,” Giroux said.

Staff members are involved in organizing “Mindful Moments” activities for those entering the gym as small activities for reflection. 

“[This is to] reflect on their day, reflect on what’s happening in their lives and how they can improve as a better person,” Ornburn said.

This semester, the Wellness Center staff has also been conducting “Mindful Moments” in the Memorial Union for those who can’t make it to Fascitelli. 

This resource is overlooked by students who don’t realize that the Wellness Center in the Fascitelli complex’s basement is more than just an office space. 

“The biggest thing that we struggle with is getting people to know that we’re not an office,” said Ornburn. “It does kind of look like an office space from the outside but we want more people to be included and we want more people to enjoy the space as much as possible.”

With a massage chair, games, coloring books, knitting materials, beading materials and more, students can get involved at the Wellness Center when looking for a midday get away from the stress of classes, extracurricular activities and dorm life.

“Even if [students] just want to do their homework here it’s a great way to get to know the staff and just relax in a welcoming environment,” Ornburn said. 

The atmosphere in the Wellness Center is very inviting, according to Giroux. 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re here as a worker or just somebody who is hanging out, everyone is welcome,” said Giroux. “Generally when we get new faces, we’ll talk to the people that come in that are new, we don’t just ignore them.”

For anyone looking to get involved as part of the staff at the Wellness Center, new staff is hired at the end of each semester and students can keep an eye out on URI’s Handshake for opportunities. 

“We just want people who will come and enhance our patrons wellness as a whole,” said Ornburn. “A lot of times we’ll look for people who have skills or talents like say they play guitar or they sing or they’re a writing major and they want to do a writing workshop.”

Working at the Wellness Center has encouraged Ornburn to get more involved within the gym itself as well as outside of Fascitelli. Ornburn said her position with the Wellness Center has also been personally rewarding as she has gained managerial experience as well as feeling more calm. 

“[I’ve also met] amazing people [who] teach me new ways to enhance my wellness,” said Ornburn. 

The Wellness Center is typically open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students are encouraged to stop by and destress anytime.