WORTHINGTON Bluejays are known for their intelligence and tight family bonds. The Minnesota West Community and Technical College family of Bluejays is no exception.

Health and wellness were put to the test this past year, with 55% of our students experiencing at least one form of basic needs insecurity, 23% experiencing moderate anxiety and 24% reporting moderate depression. We know the health of any family stems from the health of the individuals that make up the family. At Minnesota West, we strive for the success of every student by continually assessing and evaluating student resources and services.

To provide an outlet for student stress and distraction, we created Wellness Wednesdays. “In a world filled with Zoom, join us for a series so epic you are guaranteed to dance your heart out. Wellness Wednesdays at a campus near you or via Zoom starts on March 3rd.” Every Wednesday from March 3 to April 21, students had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities to enhance wellness, via Zoom or live on campus.

Additionally, the activities were supported with exercise bands, basic recipe ingredients and other resources. Our small college committee put their minds and connections together and secured a wealth of presentations by experts in the area. These activities included:

Effective Exercises for the Classroom Josue Leos of Integrative Massage and Rehab; Mindful Eating — University of Minnesota Extension; Sexual Health — Jade Moorse, AmeriCorps Health VISTA; Shopping on a Budget — University of Minnesota Extension; Cooking on a Budget — University of Minnesota Extension; Magician and Comedian — Noah, GL Berg Entertainment; Woodsy Women and the Search for Your Soulful Place — Nicole Zempel and Linda Pesch, Minnesota West; Breathe Summer Break is Near — Rachel Cox Raverty, SWWC Coop.

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Student responses included:

* "I enjoy the topics of Wellness Wednesdays, they are varied and broad.”

* "I look forward to making these health meal items.”

* "Nature is good for the soul. There is something healing and soothing about being surrounded by nature.”

* “Thank you so much for the informative episode today. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire hour; it was my favorite to date.”

Since Minnesota West will be back in session this fall with increased in-person offerings, Wellness Wednesdays will also be provided once again with even more interactive and engaging sessions — along with supports to make the sessions more informative and only enhance our students' days across the college.

Rebecca Weber is the dean of student services at Minnesota West Community & Technical College, and Linda Pesch is student services advisor.