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When students arrive on campus every August, they hear a consistent message during orientation, from their residential advisers, and elsewhere: To do well, you need to be well.

Universities across the country are increasingly developing holistic approaches to wellness. Richmond is positioning itself to become a higher education leader in this area with the announcement in October of the creation of a new Health and Well-being Unit that brings together recreation and wellness, student health, and counseling and psychological services (CAPS). It is headed up by Tom Roberts, who previously led recreation and wellness efforts.

“In our University’s mission, we make the bold claim that we prepare students for lives of purpose,” said Ronald A. Crutcher, president. “It is imperative that a holistic approach to their well-being be part of our efforts if we are to ensure they have an opportunity to thrive as part of this academic community and to position them for long-term success in their lives.”

Support services across campus reinforce this message and offer multifaceted opportunities for wellness — everything from healthy dining options to wellness coursework, sustainable lifestyle education, psychological services, the student health center, exercise classes, and even study breaks complete with puppies to pet.

Students are getting the message. Last year, more than 3,500 used the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness, and more than 1,600 registered for wellness classes in fall 2017. The new unit will serve the health and well-being needs of faculty and staff, too.

“Integrating our efforts and expertise and aligning our resources creates opportunities to reach a broader audience and gives us a unified voice and message,” Roberts said. “All of our programs and services benefit from the shared knowledge, resources, and access.”