The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 12, 2017.
In 1948, the preamble of the new World Health Organization's constitution redefined "health" as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease."
That unprecedented definition, conveying the more positive aspects of health, sparked the worldwide "wellness movement."
Since then, wellness has become an important part of both community and university life across the U.S.
The heart of campus wellness at the University of Illinois Springfield is the TRAC (The Recreation and Athletic Center), a 72,000 square-foot facility that opened in 2007 — thanks in part to a generous gift from the Hoogland Family Foundation of Springfield's own Charles and Kathleen Hoogland.
A state-of-the-art wellness and recreation facility, TRAC houses multiple indoor sport and fitness venues, including basketball and volleyball courts, an elevated running track, cardio and weight training areas and a multipurpose exercise room.
Led by director of Campus Recreation James Koeppe, TRAC staff provide a variety of wellness programs for students, faculty and staff, including group fitness classes (like strength and cardio training, Pilates, yoga, martial arts and dance), intramural sports programs and even personal training services.
"TRAC is more than just a place to work out," says James. "It's a lively gathering place on campus. There's a real sense of belonging and community here; at the same time, the programs we offer encourage participants to develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition — habits that improve all aspects of their lives."
TRAC is also home to UIS's Division II Prairie Stars athletics, and a valuable addition to the program this year is Chris Lowe, the new Strength and Conditioning coach. Thanks to a partnership with Springfield Clinic, Chris works with the 260 Prairie Stars student-athletes on all 15 athletic teams.
"Though each team has their own strength and conditioning plan, I take an individualized approach," says Chris. "Teams with professional strength and conditioning programs are more competitive, and in addition to strength and conditioning workouts, I educate students about the importance of sleep, good nutrition and adequate hydration."
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