The Kansas Board of Regents voted today to approve a wellness fee for WSU students that would include access to YMCAs | GREATER WICHITA YMCA

The Kansas Board of Regents voted today to approve a wellness fee for WSU students that would include access to YMCAs

The Kansas Board of Regents today (Thursday, June 15) approved a proposal that will enable Wichita State University to greatly improve health and wellness services for its students.

Under a concept being developed, but not finalized, existing Student Health Services, along with Counseling and Testing services, would be expanded and consolidated into one location near the corner of Mike Oatman Drive and Perimeter Road on Innovation Campus. This Health and Wellness Center, in partnership with Greater Wichita YMCA, would give students access to new opportunities for personal wellness, child care and more.

In support of the proposal, Student Government Association President Paige Hungate said: “This transformative facility has the power to greatly improve the quality of student life. Not only will it help attract students to Wichita State, but it will also play a significant role in retention by providing the services students have asked for and will benefit from.

“Under this proposal,” Hungate said, “Student Government will participate in determining the plans, and we will ensure that student voices are heard and advocated for throughout the process.”

“This proposed partnership with the Y will place WSU at the forefront of national best practices for student well-being,” said Teri Hall, WSU’s vice president for student affairs. “A facility that includes counseling, health and fitness will create a space that enhances the mind, body and spirit of our students.”

Maureen Dasey-Morales, the university’s associate vice president for wellness services, said: “Learning about healthy relationships, how to manage stress, how to balance work and self-care, how to manage an illness, how to stay physically strong and how to work as a team member are all part of the educational experience we provide for students to be successful after graduation.

“The center will give us the ability to provide better coordinated, seamless care and offer expanded services for a wide range of health care and prevention issues,” Dasey-Morales said.

The next steps in the process include further Y and university approvals and forming an exploratory committee with representatives from the Student Government Association, WSU staff and the YMCA. They will visit and study similar facilities in Kansas and nationally to compile the best ideas and provide recommendations for the proposed new facility at WSU.

Assuming Y board final approval of the partnership, fee-paying WSU students will have access to the nine other Y branches throughout the Wichita metro area beginning with the 2017 fall semester.

Ronn McMahon, CEO and president of the Wichita Y, said he was involved in a similar campus-community Y at the University of Washington - Tacoma, prior to his coming to Wichita. 

“I believe collaboration and partnerships are the ideal way for the Y to strengthen our community,” McMahon said. “I’m excited for a chance to work with WSU. This endeavor brings two leaders in the community together to serve the needs of our young adults. It’s going to be great for the students, great for the university, great for the Y and great for the entire community.”

The proposal is expected to be presented to the YMCA board of directors later this summer. If it is approved, detailed design, construction and Y fund-raising for the building are expected to take two to three years.