Carnegie Mellon University
September 02, 2020

What Will Community Well-Being Look Like This Fall?

An overview of CMU's opportunities in wellness, recreation, spirituality and more

By Katy Rank Lev

Jason Maderer

Carnegie Mellon University students are living and learning across the globe this fall, taking advantage of a hybrid model of education that blends some in-person opportunities with remote learning. But what about the learning and student experience opportunities that take place outside the classroom?

CMU's Community Health and Well-Being unit in the Division of Student Affairs comprises Counseling and Psychological Services, Religious and Spiritual Life Initiatives, Student Support Resources, University Health Services, and Wellness Initiatives.

Here, Angela Lusk, CMU’s program director of Student Affairs Wellness Initiatives, offers insight into the community wellness experience that all departments in Student Affairs are working to create for fall semester 2020.

Are there in-person wellness activities available for students studying in Pittsburgh this fall?

In an effort to prioritize the health and well-being of our community members, in-person wellness activities will look very different this year. We are encouraging residential students to engage in wellness practices individually or with their pod using safe practices like physical distancing and wearing facial coverings.

We will be highlighting great walking and bike routes near campus, mindful eating techniques and meditation, reflection, and focus practices. Our campus recreational facilities have begun to reopen with restrictions and safety plans in place. All CMU students can take advantage of skill-building resources covering a variety of health and wellness areas. For instance, our Headspace app is a great tool for mindfulness practices, and includes a lot of physical fitness and sleep resources, too. Join our monthly Be Well e-newsletter, check out the Student Affairs calendar, and follow us @LifeatCMU on social media for updates.

What virtual programming can students utilize, regardless of location?

Almost all of our programs will be virtual in nature at the start of the semester, and many of them are open to all CMU community members. Highlights include:

 All programs will be highlighted on the Student Affairs calendar, so it’s a great place to stay connected.

What innovative new offerings are available this fall?

More than anything, we plan to be very collaborative with our programming this fall to minimize Zoom fatigue and to offer a more dynamic view of community well-being. This is a work in progress, but some highlights include:

  • Virtual Paws to Relax — Until it's safe to again bring therapy pets to campus, we will be highlighting CMU faculty and staff and their beloved pets for virtual opportunities in addition to our beloved Therapets volunteers. This affords us a unique opportunity to get to know our CMU community members outside of their traditional roles on campus, and to connect over a shared love of animals.
  • Restore, Repair, and Heal in 2020 will be a collaborative series of workshops and sessions that will gather different members of our campus community together to discuss the shifting paradigms that 2020 has catalyzed, from a conversation on activism fatigue to workshops on individual and community healing techniques. Well-being workshops and sessions will encourage a more holistic conversation about self-awareness, self-compassion and self-love, and in turn how to actively practice awareness, compassion and love for each other and our community.

What's new with Headspace this year?

Headspace will continue to offer its full content for free to anyone with an active CMU Andrew email. They have an exciting new voice and lead meditator joining Andy and Eve soon. They are also featuring a fun Focus Mode setting I’ve been enjoying recently that includes 95 minutes of Lo-Fi music to play in the background while you work. The playlists are curated by John Legend!

And there are plenty of physical fitness options now, too, led by former Olympians. If you haven’t checked out Headspace lately, now’s a great time to update your free account with CMU.

We’ll be hosting a live meditation with Headspace as part of our fall Homecoming line-up of events. With over 6,000 active users and more than two million minutes meditated as a CMU community, it’s clear Headspace is a popular option. The sleepcasts remain the most utilized feature among our Tartan community.

For the full lineup of community wellness opportunities, check out the Student Affairs Calendar and be sure to subscribe to the Be Well newsletter.

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