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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
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Chillicothe's Wellness Center opens to campus and community

By Natalie Smith

Ryan Abernathy demonstrates proper technique on one of the new facility's weight machines.Thanks to the help of the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus Health and Wellness Committee and Michelle Pitstick, coordinator for the new Health and Wellness Center, many new services are now available for those seeking ways to improve their health.

The campus was initially motivated by requests from students, faculty and staff who wanted more campus activity for the student body, as well as, an outlet for the stresses encountered during their daily routines.

Pitstick, who is the new athletic director as well, is excited about the opening and has already seen a strong turnout.

"[The center] gives students and employees the opportunity to improve their fitness and learn more about their health," Pitstick said. "It's a nice place for students to come to in between classes and a great facility for our student-athletes to utilize for training purposes as well."

Instead of developing a facility just for the campus, Chillicothe utilized this opportunity to continue its partnership with the community.

"It is our campus belief that we not only want to cultivate and exercise the mind, but we also want to provide a campus environment that promotes a healthy body and a health way of life - to provide an accessible and inviting opportunity for members of our campus and community to ensure better health," said Michael Lafreniere, interim associate dean Ohio University Chillicothe Campus.

"Since many members of the community were using our Shoemaker Center (the location for the Health and Wellness Center), we certainly did not want to exclude anyone seeking to promote their own health and wellness," Lafreniere added. "In addition, this center meets one of our three core missions of the campus: providing our community with cultural and economic development."

Faith Pitstick performs leg presses. Teh new center features cardiovascular and strength training equipment, in addition to other health-enhancing services.Sessions began with college credit aerobic conditioning and weight training classes. Non-credit courses, health screenings, massage therapy and smoking cessation programs are also offered. There are plans to offer "Weight Watchers at Work" and cycling classes.

This past week, the center added a certified personal trainer to the staff to help members set fitness goals and develop personal fitness plans. There are additional plans in the works for a collaborative effort with the local YMCA to allow members to join both organizations for one set fee, Pitstick said.

"In addition, we are coordinating service learning projects with our nursing department to provide students the opportunity to learn and participate in public health education projects such as health fairs, blood pressure screenings and other health education programs," she added.

For more information on the Health and Wellness Center, contact Michelle Pitstick at pitstick@ohio.edu.

Natalie Smith is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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