The campus recreation department launched a new wellness coaching program this fall. The program was launched in mid-October, and students can now sign up for an in-person or online wellness session.
Training for wellness coaches started on Sept. 1, when the new fiscal year began.
“The wellness coaching program is based on a peer-to-peer model. Wellness coaches are trained students. They meet with clients (students) during one-on-one sessions,” Jessica Waguespack, assistant director of wellness, said. “Foundational to this is that the client is the expert of their own well-being.”
Waguespack said wellness coaches will ask open-ended question to their client, so the client can come up with their own personal goals.
Students may be connected to other sources on campus such as the AARC, Chartwells’ dieticians, group AXE classes, or the SFA Food Pantry depending on what needs and goals are determined in their session.
“The main goal is to focus on overall students' wellbeing and to take an upstream approach and help students identify what the problems or issues are before they become major problems,” Director of Campus Recreation Kenneth Morton said. “We talked about it a few years ago and finally got it off the ground, put aside money for coaching, spoke with lots of colleagues and contacts to put together training curriculum.”
Once students fill out the intake form on the campus recreation website, a wellness coach will reach out within two to three days for an initial session. The wellness coach will then describe what wellness coaching is and how they are there to guide them and help them achieve their goals and hold them accountable. The next steps would be a follow-up session or sessions depending on the timeline for the students' goals and their schedule.
Wellness coach Samantha Eshelman, junior communication sciences and disorder student from Houston, said wellness coaches were trained in different aspects before they met with clients.
“We got trained in motivational interviewing, stages of change, and how to ask open-ended questions to help the client determine their path and goals,” Eshelman said.
Students can sign up for an in-person or online wellness session at the campus recreation administration office, or online by completing an intake form on the campus recreation website.