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Total Wellness

June 6, 2022
four people sitting in a circle on the floor
Students can partake in drop-in meditation and workshops to help manage stress and find more satisfaction in daily life.

From physical health to mental health, UW offers programming and resources to help students stay happy and healthy. 

Something for Everyone

Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center ( offers a full gym, fitness classes, personal training, sports, a climbing wall and pools, as well as a host of wellness offerings and workshops.

When it comes to getting active, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Lena Newlin offers her top tips.

Look for and try things that interest you. There’s something for everyone, including dozens of club and intramural sports. The gym and classes are free to full-time students, and you also get two free personal training sessions. In addition, there’s an athletic trainer on staff to help students with injury prevention or sports-related treatments.

Buddy up—exercising with a friend is more fun and helps you stay committed.

The Laramie area is home to every type of outdoor recreation imaginable. UW’s Outdoor Program offers outings as well as equipment rentals—from bikes to kayaks and skis.

All our experts agree that sleep and exercise are two key components to staying mentally and physically healthy, so make both a priority.

Newlin also recommends students partake in Wellness Center offerings.

Try one of the many workshops, such as mindfulness and meditation or drop-in meditation. “Our brains will naturally worry about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future,” Newlin says. “Those are stressful places to be. Mindfulness and meditation can help you appreciate, enjoy and be happy in the present.”

Missing your pets? Stop by the Wellness Center for puppy play dates with therapy dogs or kitty cuddle time with adoptable kittens.

Visit the Zen Den, a comfy cozy room in the Wellness Center where you can meditate, sleep on the bean bag chairs, use the art materials, or play a brain game or fidget puzzle.

Students can reserve a massage chair individually or with a friend.

Grab some fruit during free fruit Fridays, or use the smoothie bike the first Friday of every month.

The Wellness Center is also home to student Wellness Ambassadors, the HOPES program (Healthy Options for the Prevention and Education of Substances) and the Lifesavers Initiative, which aims to promote mental health and prevent suicide.

It’s OK to Ask for Help

The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides free, confidential, time-effective, short term mental health services for students (, 341 Knight Hall, 307-766-2187 or 307-766-8989 after hours).

If you are struggling, make an appointment. Common reasons for contacting the center include academic issues, stress management, behavior problems, partner violence, changing eating patterns, feeling unusually emotional, identity concerns, isolation, a traumatic event or interpersonal problems. Sessions can be in person or via Zoom. “Mental health is as important as physical health,” says Director Toi Geil. “Seeing a counselor is like going to your primary care doctor. You see them when you’re not feeling well.”

The UCC uses a stepped care approach to treatment that includes psychoeducational materials, workshops, groups, solution-focused follow-up meetings and time-effective and short-term counseling. 

The professional UCC staff of licensed mental health providers includes a trauma specialist and a diversity/multicultural specialist. While UCC doesn’t offer long-term individual therapy, the center can refer you to other resources depending on your needs, including UW’s Psychology Center and WellSpring Counseling Clinic.

In addition to its counseling, groups and workshops, UCC is home to UW’s Alcohol Wellness Alternatives, Research, and Education (AWARE) Program for students and Gatekeepers Suicide Prevention Training for students, faculty, staff and community members.

person using stethoscope on another person
Mary Beth Bender, Student Health Service director and primary care nurse practitioner, and student Caroline Wilhelm demonstrate some of the services provided by Student Health Service.

On-Campus Health Care

For UW students, primary care services are offered right on campus at Student Health Service ( Director and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Mary Beth Bender highlights important information for students.

Eligible students don’t need insurance to use the clinic. Student fees cover office visits. For services that do have a charge such as lab testing, fees are kept low.

You can make an appointment for a variety of issues, including illness, injury, men’s and women’s health, mental health, chronic medical conditions, preventative medicine and physicals. Student Health also offers a lab and pharmacy.

Services are confidential. Arrive 15 minutes early to fill out forms. As an adult, it’s important you know the information to fill out medical intake forms. This information includes your medical history, your family medical history, your emergency contacts, any medications you take (name and dosage) and any allergies you have. You’ll also want to make sure you have an up-to-date copy of your vaccination history before you arrive at UW.

Pack a health kit when you come to college with items including a thermometer, Band-Aids and any over-the-counter medications you may commonly need such as Tylenol and cold medicine. Although you won’t need to use your insurance card for visits at Student Health, make sure you have a copy on hand for use at pharmacies or off-campus health facilities if needed.

Student Wellness Tips

Make “you” time. “Try to stay focused on school between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or so—that way whenever it’s outside those hours you can take time for yourself.” –Alec Wallen, Round Rock, Texas, senior, dual major in geology major and environmental system science, certificate in GIS

“I have one day a week that is dedicated to doing things that I want to do. It gives me something to look forward to every week so I can have a mental break from school.” –Ciara Thompson, Sterling, Colo., junior, social work with minors in disabilities studies and psychology

“Making time and making your mental and physical health a priority is so crucial to your success in college. Whatever you do to fill up your cup.” –Erin McDonald, Colorado Springs, Colo., junior, chemistry

Exercise. “Half Acre is always available, and there’s so much to do there! If going to the gym isn’t your thing, try to take a walk around downtown. Fresh air and a peaceful walk around Laramie will always be impactful.” –Abigail Klenk, Loveland, Colo., senior, social studies secondary education and history with an ESL endorsement

Find what fulfills you. “For mental health, I try to take time to do things that make me feel fulfilled. I will make time to paint, or sing, or find ways to be creative as a pick-me-up when I am feeling down. I will also start my morning out with a 10-minute yoga routine when I know I will have a big day ahead of me, so I can start the day with mindfulness and a clear head.” –CeeJay Berg, Rock Springs, Wyo., senior, accounting and economics, minors in honors and finance

Use your support system and campus resources. “I’ve utilized Student Health and the Counseling Center.” –Emilygrace Piel, Cheyenne, Wyo., senior, theater and dance design tech management, focus in stage management

“I make time to see or talk to my family because that makes me feel better when I am down.” –Emily Powell, Windsor, Colo., graduate student, pharmacy

Make nutrition a priority. “I try to make an effort to eat healthy! I absolutely love cooking, so finding quick and nutritious meal solutions is something that helps me out a lot.” –Lona van der Linden, San Diego, Calif., sophomore, computer science

people at a bowling alley
Recent graduate Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, pictured at Laramie Lanes, enjoyed participating in the student club Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA).

Multicultural Affairs

Multicultural Affairs aims to advocate with and for marginalized students and offers student support groups, a speaker series, leadership development, scholarships and resource centers. The Multicultural Resource Center and Rainbow Resource Center are both located on the main level of the Wyoming Union, and the Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center is located on Ivinson and Eighth streets.

“We really work hard to create space for those students and bring them together in community,” says Multicultural Affairs Program Director Melanie Vigil. “We do leadership development activities and special resource center nights. We offer a students of color circle every Wednesday and a LGBTQIA circle on Thursdays.”

At the circles, students enjoy lunch and sense of community, as well as discussions about identity and how to navigate challenges and share successes. The circles host guest speakers and celebrations. Vigil and her staff members also serve as advisers for a number of identity-related student clubs, such as Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA) and the Queer Community Coalition.

To learn more, stop by the Multicultural Affairs offices in the Union, or visit

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