University of Iowa officials are moving forward with a $25 to $28 million proposal for new Student Well-Being Center located on the south side of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
Pending approval from the Board of Regents this week, the center would tentatively open in fall 2024.
“One of the things we have learned in the past few years is that well-being is much broader than the wellness wheel we might all know. It’s also about finding your purpose, your passion, how you connect to others and to the planet,” said Vice President for Student Life Sarah Hansen in a release. “It’s a more holistic approach and the bigger picture of what our students are going through during this time as they grow and develop.”
The conversation about the well-being center began when a decision was made to raze the 102-year-old Westlawn, the current home for University Counseling Service, Student Health, and Student Wellness.
“The opportunity is to approach this project in a way that sets up a more institutional-level model of well-being for our students that is more engaged and coordinated,” Ms. Hansen said. “Student leaders have been involved in the discussion from the very beginning and they have provided excellent ideas.”
Both Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) were part of the planning process.
“This year, more than any other year, we’ve seen how critical these wellness services are to students,” 2020-2021 USG President Connor Wooff said. “We have to embrace a campus culture of well-being and, by doing that, we need to give these services an accessible location on the east side of campus, a new space, and one that is built for well-being.”
The new center will house all services from Westlawn and others such as the Food Pantry at Iowa, Clothing Closet, and Student Care and Assistance, creating a hub of wellness services to aid students.
“About 70% of graduate and professional students have indicated a need for more mental health services,” said incoming GPSG President Moala Bannavti. “This well-being center would not only support physical health, but mental health, for which a large number of graduate and professional students are seeking more support.”
The new center will be partially funded by a new $80 a semester student fee.