Finding Balance | Butler Stories

Finding Balance

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2017

Balance. That elusive feeling we search for tirelessly. And when we don’t feel it, we long for it.

Truth is finding balance in your life can be complicated (read: messy, overwhelming, stressful ... you get the picture). Let’s be honest, the reason why it can be so complicated is because it involves our wellbeing. That’s what is at stake when we talk about balance.

The Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) at Butler understands the importance of balance and taking a holistic approach to wellbeing. As Director of Recreation Scott Peden said, “It’s not just your typical gym with a bunch of fitness equipment.”

Far from it, actually.

The HRC is home to Counseling and Consultation Services, Health Education and Outreach, Health Services, and Recreation. Services offered at the HRC range from personal training and nutritional counseling to massage therapy and physical therapy, and from swim lessons and certifications to a high-ropes course that is often used for team-building activities.

The impact the HRC has on the Butler community and beyond is obvious when you take a look at the numbers from last year:

  • Approximately 200 Butler student employees
  • Roughly 6,000 student-patient visits, and another 3,000 visits for external services (e.g., flu clinics)
  • Around 3,500 counseling sessions, for just over 500 students (about 10 percent of student body)
  • Almost 100 outreach and education programs, reaching around 3,000 students and employees

Nearly 90 percent of Butler students visit the HRC on a regular basis—about 1,200 students per day. Sure, current Butler students will always be the primary focus of the HRC, but there are numerous services and activities available to alumni, faculty and staff, and the community. In fact, there are over 400 non-student HRC members. Not to mention the hundreds of community members who purchase day passes or participate in programs/services offered at the HRC.

The interests and needs of students are always evolving when it comes to—well—everything. That includes wellbeing, which is becoming a more personal and individualized experience. These evolving needs mean the HRC staff has to be proactive not only in what they do, but how they do it. 

For example, as the demands for mental health services increase, Counseling and Consultation Services is continually adjusting the services provided in order to best meet the needs of Butler University students. Streamlining their intake process and expanding their group therapy program, which has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of therapy for college students, are two such adjustments recently made.

Another example is exploring how to engage students and the community in different ways. In particular, providing programming and services outside the walls of the HRC.

“Beyond the aspects of how we engage our community, we will take a serious look at what programs or services might be feasible to add to our expanding portfolio,” shared Peden.

“I would love to see the HRC become the embodiment of what a university can do when resources, strategies, and personnel align to create a living, learning lab for holistic wellbeing.”

In an effort to truly maximize the potential of the HRC, staff continue to identify opportunities for collaboration with campus partners and others. If they could add a couple more basketball courts, an indoor climbing wall, solar panel roof, and a wing reserved solely for reflection and meditation, that’d be good, too.

It’s all about balance, right?