Kenyon students and employees can enjoy a new oasis in the heart of campus thanks to a collaboration among the Cox Health and Counseling Center, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and Student Accessibility and Support Services.
The Center for Wellness and Meditation, located on Gaskin Avenue underneath the Gambier Deli, provides an opportunity for students and employees to rest and recharge during the day. Opened Friday, Jan. 31, the space features four rooms: a main area with a couch and tea, a multipurpose room, a meditation room and a MindPeace room. The meditation room includes books on different forms of meditation; the MindPeace space is furnished to offer calming sensory stimuli, such as special lighting and a weighted blanket, designed to relax one’s mind.
“We wanted to create a space for students to go so they could regroup and get centered,” said Marc Bragin, director of spiritual and religious life and Jewish chaplain. “It’s not a student lounge, and it’s not a place to hold meetings. It’s a quiet place to pause during the day and focus on mindfulness.”
While the College is in session, students and employees may access the space seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. by using their ID cards. The multipurpose room can be reserved by employees and student organizations for wellness and meditation group activities, such as quiet hours or craft activities. With the exception of tea and water, food and drink are not permitted in the space, and disruptive activities such as loud conversations are discouraged.
“One of the things that impacts wellness is one’s physical space, so we have this area where people can come and relax. It’s not a study space,” said Chris Smith, director of the Cox Health and Counseling Center. “We want to empower students, faculty and staff to be proactive in their own wellness, and this space is a part of that mission. It is a place where you can set aside your stress and take a break.”
A student manager employed by the Cox Health and Counseling Center will assist with maintaining the space and adapting it to fit the needs of the Kenyon community. Smith encourages feedback to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. “Wellness means so much to so many people, and in different ways,” he said, “and we want to learn what is working and what could be strengthened.”