Category Archives: Wellness Connection

BIG Playground has BIG Turn Out.

The streets of Bowling Green were a little less populated this past Friday night as many students flocked to the recreation center for a healthier source of entertainment.


The Department of Recreation and Wellness hosted their 12th annual BIG Playground event Friday evening. The event is designed to prove to students that there are fun ways to spend weekend nights other than indulging in irresponsible behavior. Students received a free water bottle and extra goodies when signing a pledge to be responsible on spring break. The Department of Recreation and Wellness works hard every year to encourage student health and safety.



Despite the hazardous weather, students trudged through snow and slush to enjoy a series of activities including 3 on 3 basketball tournaments, an inflatable obstacle course, inflatable jousting and face painting. Many students took advantage of the free food and beverages that was offered as well.




Sophomore Audrey Backes decided to return after participating in the event last year. “This is a really good time of the year to hold an event like this. For me, this weather really puts a damper on weekends, and BIG Playground is a great way to have some indoor fun,” she said.


Freshman Taylor Tucker mentioned how she had been looking forward to BIG Playground to meet new people. “As a freshman you are always looking for ways to make new friends, BIG Playground allows you to let loose and do things you don’t normally do as a college student.” “I would definitely come back again,” she said.


Every year BIG Playground provides students with a great way to set responsibility aside while still being responsible. BIG Playground is proof that students can have a great time without making bad decisions.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a BGSU Kid.

Now, more than ever the pressure to become an adult at a younger age can really take a toll on students. The transition from painting toenails and playing video games to cramming for tests and working extra hours to make rent can be a tough one for college students. Imagine setting all adulthood worries aside and acting like a kid again. Now is your chance.

Last year’s Big Playground Event

The Department of Recreation and Wellness is hosting the 12th annual BIG Playground event. The event will be held on Friday, February 26th at the Student Recreation Center from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

BIG Playground is a late night alternative event. The event’s purpose is to show students there are healthy alternatives to a good time rather than drinking and partying. Activities include an inflatable obstacle course and jousting, two caricatures, a giant slide, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a live DJ, sex olympics, disabled vision goggles, prizes and food.

Health Educator, Caitlin Spontelli explained how the event offers a fun and healthy learning environment. She said every year students respond positively to BIG Playground. “They enjoy having a night to let loose, meet new people, and release their inner child,” explained Spontelli. About 1,000 students participate each year.

BIG Playground is free to BGSU students with student ID and only $6.00 for guests. The first 100 people receive a free t-shirt. Don’t let the chance of indulging in your favorite youthful activities pass you by. Come to BIG Playground and be a kid again, guilt free! Call 419.372 WELL (9355) for more information.

Finals Week Stress Management

Finals week may not begin until Monday, Dec. 14, but for many students at BGSU the stress caused by finals week is already here. The stress accompanying the conclusion of the semester troubles many students, but there are ways to alleviate that stress.

“There are positive and negative ways of dealing with stress,” said Wellness Connection Interim Health Educator Caitlin Spontelli.

According to Spontelli, some healthy strategies to deal with stress include “exercise, getting plenty of sleep, eating a well balanced diet, and managing time wisely.” She also identified some unhealthy methods of coping with stress, such as “smoking, binge drinking, and consuming too much caffeine.”

While stress can be beneficial at times, constant exposure is harmful.

“Stress isn’t always bad,” stated Spontelli. “In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best, but when you’re constantly running in emergency mode your mind and body pay the price.”

Finals week is a critical time of the semester, where final grades are often determined. Stress has a detrimental effect on academic performance.

“Stress can cause many symptoms that can affect performance such as forgetfulness, sleep problems, burnout, decreased immunity, headaches, restlessness and other symptoms that could affect a person’s performance in the classroom,” said Spontelli.

The effects of long-term stress are damaging.

“Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems,” explained Spontelli. “It can lead to ulcers, migraines, increased blood pressure, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Some of the exercises recommended by Spontelli to relieve stress are yoga and tai chi. Other methods of dealing with stress she recommends are talking to a friend or family member, listening to music, writing in a journal, and playing with a pet.

The Counseling Center is also available for students struggling with stress. Its walk-in hours are from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Please visit the Wellness Connection Web site for more information on programs and services provided.

BGSU Student Leadership Excellence Results in National Recognition

BGSU Recreation and Wellness is home to two recent national award recipients. The Outdoor Program is the winner of the David J. Webb Program Excellence Award from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE.) Additionally, Student Wellness Network Vice-President Ashley Remer is the winner of the 2009 BACCHUS Network “Outstanding Student Award.”

The AORE is a national organization representing outdoor recreation programs at universities and military bases, as well as not-for-profit outdoor recreation programs.

“This is the highest award given to an outdoor recreation program,” said Director of the Outdoor Program Jerome Gabriel. “It’s the Emmy of outdoor recreation.”

Given BGSU’s location in an area not known for outdoor recreation like Northwest Ohio, it may appear surprising the Outdoor Program is the winner of this prestigious award. However, the program has a proud reputation in the outdoor recreation community.

“We were nominated for our ability to produce outstanding outdoor leaders,” stated Gabriel. “Students have gone on to be directors of outdoor programs in Colorado and Utah, graduate assistants in Georgia and New York, and work in many professional areas of outdoor recreation.”

The Outdoor Program also makes good use of the resources it has available with programs such as the adaptive climbing program, adrenaline youth climbing club, and the freshman wilderness experience.

Another important resource of the Outdoor Program is its student staff. The student employees at the program are vital contributors towards the program’s success.

“We give 100 percent recognition to our student staff,” said Gabriel. “The program wouldn’t have gone anywhere without students, who are passionate about outdoor recreation.”

The Student Wellness Network also has a strong reputation for producing leaders, a fact The BACCHUS Network recognizes.

The BACCHUS Network consists of over 32,000 student peer educators and advisors. BGSU’s Student Wellness Network is an affiliate. Student Wellness Network Vice-President Ashley Remer is the most recent winner of the “Outstanding Student Award.” Remer is the second BGSU student in as many years to win the award.

Senior Ashley Remer won “Outstanding Student of the Year” among other students due to her dedication to the Student Wellness Network.

“Ashley is a great leader and very charismatic,” stated Wellness Connection Director and Student Wellness Network Advisor Faith Yingling. “Other students look up to her as a mentor and leader. She brought the organization through a transition period after two main leaders graduated last year. Her leadership is very important. She really connects with students, and they feel comfortable with her.”

On Thursday, November 19 the Student Wellness Network has a table in the Union from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. as part of the Great American Smokeout. Visitors can find information on smoking cessation. Furthermore, Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Counselor Carrie Arndt is at the table from 12 until 2 p.m.

More information on the Student Wellness Network and the Wellness Connection can be found at their Web sites.

In early December, the Outdoor Program releases its Spring Semester trip schedule, which will include backpacking along the Appalachian trail and caving in Alabama. Please visit the Outdoor Program Web site for more information.

Social Networking at Recreation & Wellness

Social networking is a phenomenon with which many people are familiar. Facebook and Twitter accounts are not only for college and high school students anymore. Many businesses and organizations employ social networking as a promotional tool. BGSU’s Recreation and Wellness is no exception.

While social networking’s promotional abilities make it useful to an organization, it can be used ineffectively.

“People are not going on social networking sites to be bombarded with advertisements,” said Melissa Rausch, Web and Technology Manager for BGSU Recreation and Wellness. “Promotion techniques need to be creative and unique.”

While overuse of social networking can turn audiences away, neglect is also harmful.

“A common mistake is creating an account, adding a couple photos, and then only updating every month or so,” stated Rausch. “Inactivity never looks good.”

BGSU’s Outdoor Program uses social networking frequently to inform students about upcoming trips.

“Facebook is updated daily,” said Jerome Gabriel, Director of the Outdoor Program. “When a trip comes around it could be multiple times daily. Twitter normally gets one tweet a day.”

When it comes to social networking, Facebook is clearly preferred.

“I use Facebook more,” added Gabriel. “We get at least 25 percent of trip sign-ups through Facebook.”

“Facebook is more effective (than Twitter) because it offers features like photos and video,” stated Rausch when offering her social networking preference. “I think the visual aspects really help.”

Interim Health Educator Caitlin Spontelli of the Wellness Connection does not have a preference for either Facebook or Twitter. The Wellness Connection has a Twitter account, and the Student Wellness Network maintains a Facebook group page.

“Our office uses both networking sites for different purposes,” said Spontelli.

“On Twitter we post health and wellness facts and links to information such as healthy recipes, online workout videos, health and wellness articles, upcoming campus events, and quick tips to stay healthy on campus,” explained Spontelli. “On Facebook the Student Wellness Network has a description of the organization, upcoming events, a peer education presentation list, how to become a peer educator, contact information, photos from recent events, and wall postings from current members.”

Recreation and Wellness can be found on Facebook and Twitter, as can the Outdoor Program (Facebook and Twitter) and the Wellness Connection (Facebook and Twitter.)