UREC Outdoors Offers Enrichment Opportunities in Environmental Wellness
During the fall 2017 semester, the University of Arkansas launched UARK Wellness, a program that encourages members of the university community to develop across eight wellness dimensions.
"UARK Wellness helps us take a more holistic approach to wellness, it encourages resilience, collaboration and innovation, and is a proactive step toward enriching the lives of our entire University of Arkansas community," said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.
Across campus, there are a wide variety of programs, activities, and outlets for the University community to develop overall wellbeing. UREC Outdoors, a program area within the department of University Recreation, strives to offer enrichment opportunities in environmental wellness.
According to the UARK Wellness website, environmental wellness encourages awareness, respect, and care for the natural environment. In addition, balance in this dimension requires spending time outside.
"Time in the natural environment is essential to our overall wellbeing," said Mike Hoover, assistant director of UREC Outdoors. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, American adults spend less than 5 percent of their time each day outside. This is concerning considering the numerous health benefits associated with spending time outdoors."
Since July 2017, 273 students, faculty, and staff have participated in UREC Outdoors field based programs. These programs include activities that spent at least one day outside. In total, participants spent 49 days in the field during that time.
"These numbers are very exciting to us as a program," noted Mike Hoover. "Our mission is to provide diverse recreational opportunities in the outdoors, and it appears that our community is taking advantage of our program offerings."
Environmental education and awareness is another key component of the environmental wellness dimension.
"All UREC Outdoors participants on programs that are at least two days in length received a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop Certificate through the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics," said Hoover. "Many of our student trip leaders are certified as Leave No Trace Trainers, which allows them to certify participants in this way."
UREC Outdoors offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational equipment if members of the UARK community choose to pursue a personalized outdoor experience. For additional information, call 479-575-6834 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by UREC Outdoors (HPER 102).
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