In a whirlwind return to in-person campus events and packed lecture halls, students can find peace in the calm, welcoming space of Living Well.
Living Well reclaimed its space on the bottom floor of the Davis Center after a year of providing services solely online. The campus COVID-19 testing site took over the space during the 2020-21 school year, said Parker Holloway, Living Well operations coordinator.
Now that Living Well is operating out of their space, massages, therapy dog visits, and other services provided by Living well have returned for students.
Living Well’s main goal is to help get students through their day and through the semester, said Holloway.
“It’s a hangout spot, and if you ever just need something, all of our staff are trained and very happy to support a student with anything at all,” Holloway said.
Living Well has supplemental programs and services to support students’ mental, physical, spiritual and sexual health. It is a catch-all office, Holloway said, and its programs range from massage appointments to yoga and mindfulness classes.
“Every year I’ve been on campus, students are struggling more [with mental health],” Holloway said. “I’ve definitely noticed an increased need for [mental health] services.”
This year, Living Well transitioned to offering both online and in-person services to accommodate more students, Holloway said.
Sophomore Erin Jaspan began working at Living Well in September 2021 and said she wishes the in-person programs could have run last school year.
“So many of the services offered here would have been so helpful last year,” Jaspan said. “I feel like last year was such a hard year mental health-wise.”
Online programs do not draw students in as much as in-person events, Jaspan said.
Living Well’s space is fun, bright and comforting. Many students stop by the space wondering what it is and continue to come back after learning more, Jaspan said.
One of Jaspan’s favorite things Living Well offers are HappyLights. HappyLights are full spectrum lights that brighten the winter months and help with symptoms of seasonal depression, Jaspan said.
“Especially in Vermont when it gets so cold and wintery for so long, [HappyLights are] a really awesome, unique thing to have,” Jaspan said.
Sophomore Rebecca Vassilenko said she recently discovered Living Well for the first time.
“I knew nothing about Living Well my first year and a friend recently told me about their therapy dogs and massages,” Vassilenko said. “I went for a massage and it was amazing.”
Not many students she knows are aware of Living Well’s space and Vassilenko said she hopes that changes soon.
“I feel like after COVID, programs like this would be really beneficial, but also in general school is really stressful so this would be beneficial for anybody,” Vassilenko said.
At the beginning of the semester, foot traffic was slow, but he hopes more students will continue to discover and return to the space as the year goes on, Holloway said.
Students are welcome in the space any time regardless of the event schedule, Jaspan said.
Living Well events are advertised on UVM Bored, fliers, on Instagram @bewelluvm and through tabling at events and emails, Holloway said.