Ramapo unveils new Wellness Room

Last Thursday, the Center for Health and Counseling Services held the grand opening of Ramapo’s new Wellness Room.

The room was funded by the Mental Health Community Provider Partnerships and Professional Development Grant, which was offered to colleges in New Jersey by the Office of the Secretary for Higher Education. Ramapo health educator Megan Johnston says the room is “designed to be a space where students can focus individually or in small groups of four people on their wellness.”

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with snacks such as cookies and fruit as well as the option of lavender and honey or chamomile tea. After attendees spent time chatting and surveying the room, Johnston took the podium to address the crowd. 

She explained that the idea came about after Ramapo participated in the National College Health Assessment through the American College Health Association. The survey was sent to all students, and over 705 responses were gathered.

From these responses, it was discovered that Ramapo students “were experiencing gaps in the campus culture towards student wellness” and “only half of the student respondents felt that mental health and wellbeing were priorities here.”

The opening of the Wellness Room also welcomed emotional support animals. Photo by Amanda Jones

The room contains a massage chair, a couch with a weighted blanket, a large bean bag chair and a computer, among many other opportunities to practice mindfulness.

There are floor pillows, lavender-scented stress balls, coloring pages, beads for crafting, yoga mats and special lights for light therapy. Johnston mentioned the idea of using the computer to pull up mindfulness or yoga videos.

Sophomore theater major Desiree Bounds said that she “might even try yoga now that we have mats.”

Johnston then invited President Cindy Jebb up to share her thoughts. Jebb noted that the room meets all three goals of Ramapo’s strategic plan — the space will be used for academic and student success, is inclusive and involves agile stewardship. 

“I hope everyone has an opportunity to really take advantage of the space because it means a great deal,” she said. “When we say we prioritize student well-being, we mean that… and the way you show that… is by putting resources towards it.” 

Johnston took back to the podium afterwards to introduce two Ramapo students to talk about their experiences with mental health and the meaning of the new room to them. The first was junior Madison Case, a psychology and social sciences major with a concentration in community mental health. 

“I’m standing before you today not only as an advocate for the wellness room, and as someone who has been excitedly awaiting the opening… but as someone eager to share how I personally plan to utilize the space,” Case said. 

After discussing their own journey and the misconceptions about wellness practices, Case ended their speech with a beautiful statement: “It creates a shared space for mutual growth and comfort, so with that said, I cannot wait to see how the space transforms connections from student-to-student and student-to-self.”

After that was Olivia Roche, a senior nursing student in the College Honors Program who also works as a volunteer EMT.

“This wellness room will allow students like myself to have a place to decompress throughout the school year,” she said. “It’s a physical space on campus that will support a student’s mental, physical and emotional health.”

Johnston invited everyone to enjoy the refreshments, explore the room and watch as she, Director of the Center for Health and Counseling Services Judith Green, Jebb, Case and Roche cut a ribbon that stretched across the doors. 

Appointments can be made through Google Calendar, where students can book a 30-minute appointment slot for up to a group of four. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. To access the room, students must stop at the Center for Student Involvement to check out a key.




Featured photo by Amanda Jones