De-stress, decompress and find community post-election at the SRC

Contact: Erin Flynn

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—After a busy and divisive election season, election fatigue and anxiety are real. Western Michigan University's Student Recreation Center—SRC—invites the Bronco community to relieve stress and take a break from the campaign texts and calls in a healthy way. The SRC is waiving access fees Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, for all current WMU students and employees who bring their Bronco Card and complete the University's COVID-19 screening survey.

Students participate in a yoga class at the Student Recreation Center.

"We want to encourage and have zero barriers in front of people to be active and to do something healthy (on and after Election Day)," says Amy Seth, director of University Recreation, stressing the benefits of exercise to relieve stress and boost your mood. "Some people will have a lot of emotion and need to be physically active to get rid of that energy in a positive way. Others may need to sit quietly and find a way to de-stress through yoga, maybe through stretching."

In addition to using SRC facilities, fitness classes will also be free, though space is limited to adhere to COVID-19 recommendations and guidelines put in place by local and state authorities. Anyone interested can sign up for classes through ExperienceWMU. Many classes are also offered virtually at no cost.

"Anytime we can play and participate side-by-side, we have a better chance of getting to know each other in a different way, maybe realizing that we have more things in common than we really are different," Seth says.

"Everything I've learned from this whole COVID-19 experience is that Western has a strong community of support," adds Beth Northuis, assistant director of fitness and wellness programs. "This is just another way of us being able to continue that support process for our students, faculty and staff here on campus and allowing them a positive, healthy outlet to de-stress and unwind."

WMU values diversity of thoughts, perspectives, beliefs and identities. Inevitably, some community members will welcome the results of the election while others will be disappointed. The University has compiled a number of resources, educational opportunities and events to offer post-election support for students, faculty and staff focused on social, emotional and physical well-being.

A student writes a positive message on a large poster hung on a wall.

A post-election support center is set up in the SRC, where the WMU community can write how they will be positive, healthy, active and kind.

"A lot of students say this is a place that they feel safe, and we're proud of that," says Seth, pointing out the nearly 100 student employees who have become part of the SRC family from all backgrounds and academic areas. "Our commonality is that we're Broncos, and that we work together. That's pretty powerful in itself, so I think it's important that we be really positive during this time."

The SRC will continue to look for ways to bring people together through its programs and services. Four actions are at the heart of that mission.

"More than ever, we need to be positive, we need to be healthy, we need to be active—it helps our brains, it helps us with stress—and we need to be kind. Regardless of how the election turns out, people need to be part of a kind world," Seth says. "We need to demonstrate it. We need to be able to show it and make a space for people to feel that."

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.