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Wellness center a place of learning and fun

For many students, coming to college is not only about learning academic skills. Students seek opportunities that allow them to attain life skills only found outside the classroom. At the University of Miami, one such opportunity can be found at the Coral Gables Wellness Center, and more specifically, in their instructional programs.

The types of programs offered cover the entire spectrum of recreational and fitness activities including: aquatics, dance classes, martial arts, exercise and sports lessons. According to the University of Miami  Web site, the instructional programs “are taught by nationally certified professionals and are open to everyone, regardless of membership status.”

“The classes let you learn a little more of a skill,” said Melissa Jurado, assistant director of group exercise and instructional programs. “And the instructor progresses the classes together.”

Students are not the only ones encouraged to join. A large amount of the class members are faculty and members of the community. Jurado explains that most of the instructors spread word throughout the local area.

“And once people get here, they tend to stay,” Jurado said.

The fees associated with the programs vary depending on the class and on membership status, that is, whether the participant is a student, member or non-member. Student rates are the cheapest.

“The reason these prices are so inexpensive is because our idea with these programs is that we do not make any profit off of our students, we just try to break even,” Jurado said, “So in order to keep a class running, the Wellness Center just has to cover the instructor’s salary.”

This semester, the Wellness Center introduced three new instructional programs, but only one of them managed to attract enough members to stay afloat. Hip-hop, self-defense and Meridian stretching, where classes are based on group stretching methods, were the new ideas.

“I’ve been wanting to have a hip-hop class for a long time and I finally found an instructor,” Jurado said.

The hip-hop class, which had 30 members in its first session, was the only one to garner enough members to survive.

“Most student-athletes already have their own deal going for stretching and aren’t going to come here,” Jurado said. “And the average student that comes here doesn’t think of themselves as an athlete but everyone benefits from stretching.”

One of the main reasons these programs struggled was because many students did not hear about them when they were introduced.

“I did hear about them,” sophomore and intramural supervisor  Xavier Bowden said, “but that’s because I work there. If I mentioned it to my friends, they wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about.”

Both Jurado and Bowden plan on joining the upcoming sessions of the classes, either in the summer or the fall, and hope adequate numbers join because they feel both are important.

All three of the new courses will be offered again in the summer and next fall. Schedules for these and other courses will be posted on the Wellness Center website when they are finalized.

INFO BOX

Log on to the University of Miami Wellness Center online, or the Wellness Center Facebook page

Or contact Melissa Jurado for more information about the Instructional Programs:

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
HERBERT WELLNESS CENTER
Melissa Jurado
Assistant Director, Group Exercise and Instructional Programs
Department of Wellness and Recreation
Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center
1241 Dickinson Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone:(305) 284-8513

April 13, 2010

Reporters

Patrick H. Todd


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