Monday, October 4, 2010

Engagement of the Mind and Body

DePaul possesses an active and passionate student body and faculty; one that is focused on service and revolves around Vincentian values. DePaul has taken the initiative and engaged students on several levels to promote sustainable living practices. An area in which students have been consistently engaged is in the realm of campus recreation. In addition to making the actual campus recreation facilities greener, DePaul promotes healthy living with the goal of sustainability.

There are two campus recreation programs that really stand out in terms of sustainable practices. The first of these is the Green Steps walking program. This program, a part of the Wellness Center, encourages DePaul faculty to record their steps every day with a free pedometer. This program, currently only available to DePaul staff and faculty, encourages healthy living practices. It also builds a team spirit and connects the faculty on a higher level. The results of this program are multi-fold. On one level, the faculty is encouraged to use alternative forms of transportation. To reach their step goal every day, the simply must walk more. Because they are walking more they are encouraged to use a more sustainable mode of transportation. The program also engages the faculty to use healthy living practices in their own lives. This example is a very good one for the student body. If the faculty and staff are engaging their own health through sustainable practices, it can inspire the student body to do the same. It also shows DePaul’s commitment to engaging both the students and the faculty.

A program in Campus Recreation that engages students while promoting sustainability is the Spring Break Ozarks Volunteer Vacation. Because this program is with Campus Recreation, it engages students to practice healthy living at its core. Students travel to the Ozark Mountains, and help to construct the Buffalo National River Trail. This trip aligns with Vincentian values of service, and helps to make a sustainable trail that will be enjoyed for generations. Students have the chance to not only marvel at the beauty of the Ozark Mountains, but they have the chance to practice sustainable living. They are not only exercising their body, but they are also engaging their mind and making the world around them a better place.

DePaul, through the Wellness Center, also has a Bicycling Initiative. The website states, “Our valued mission is to enhance the quality of life within the DePaul community. The bicycling initiative is an extension to this mission, meant to create a balance between nature and humankind. Changing your transportation mode(s) is understandably difficult. But making small changes to your transportation routine can lead to a more active and healthy lifestyle that promotes the wellness of DePaul’s surrounding community and environment.” By promoting bicycling, and other healthy modes of transportation, DePaul is not only engaging its students and faculty to live healthy lives, but also to live sustainable lives.

While these three programs are just three examples of DePaul’s sustainable practices, they are three very important examples of what the university is doing to engage its students to live healthy, sustainable lives.

Posted by: Timothy Scheel

Photo courtesy of : DePaul University

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