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WPI Invests in their Community’s Well Being

Entrance to the center for well-being

Colleges across the country are taking a hard look at whether they are doing enough to support the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of their students.

lobby area of wellness center with small groups of people seated

As Charlie Morse, Dean of Student Wellness at WPI said, “Young people everywhere are grappling with a mental health crisis that was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now all colleges and universities must gain a better understanding of how mental health and well being intersect with the rigors of higher education so that we can identify opportunities to better support our communities.”

WPI wanted to create a space to support a range of services that could address the well-being of their school community in a holistic way and brought LPA|A on to help make it happen. The school desired a hub for these services in a well-travelled, accessible location. They made the decision to undertake a major renovation to the first floor of their Daniels Residence Hall in a central campus location next to the central Dining Hall and accessed from the main quad, allowing WPI to co-locate their student health and representative counseling services with their new set of programs and support offered through their Center for Well Being.

Among the features of the center are a large and open space where students can meet and gather or sit quietly to read, study, or meditate. Small offices are available for peer counseling, therapies, and a room for yoga and other wellness programs is another important element of the new space. The overall design is meant to co-locate wellness programs with the college’s existing health services to meet a broader range of needs.

Soothing muted colors, natural design elements, including a water feature built into the wall, and large windows to the outside throughout the space contribute to a peaceful environment that is simultaneously removed from the stresses of campus life but central to where the community lives and learns.

“As I look around this space, I can hardly believe the transformation. When we sat here having conversations about what we hoped for this space, we envisioned a space that you would walk into and feel like you were having a hug. Every time I walk into the Center for Well Being I feel a sense of release, said Paula Fitzpatrick, Director of the Center for Well Being. “It has been an incredibly collaborative effort to create this space.”

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