(at right): Chef Lee
by Carol Sadtler
Look to DePaul for Wellness
A steaming bowl of noodles with fresh vegetables. Therapeutic massage.
Zumba, yoga and WERQ classes.
As we all munch our way through the holidays, consider some of the wellness options available at the Lincoln Park Campus for the DePaul community—including alumni.
Mind/Body at The Ray
Maureen McGonagle, director of campus recreation, began her position 14 years ago, before the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center was built. Today, she and her colleagues operate from this state-of-the art-facility at 2235 N. Sheffield Ave., known as “The Ray.”
Students, faculty, alumni and community members keep fit at The Ray. McGonagle says that the group fitness program—free classes including Zumba, crunch, WERQ, dance party and yoga—is a big draw. Though students are in the majority, staff, faculty and alumni also attend classes.
John Henkel (CDM ’00) trains for triathlons at The Ray. As a student, he was a lifeguard at North Avenue Beach and worked at some of Chicago’s most highly rated health clubs. He ranks The Ray, “with four basketball courts, and a nice track, it’s right up there.”
Dale Tobias (CDM ’88), a former track and field star who earned All-Central Collegiate Conference honors in the 100- and 200-meter events, says he “has been a member since day one.” These days, he plays basketball a couple of evenings a week, works out on the track on Sundays and plays intramural chess. He also is part of The Ray’s advisory board.
“I’ve met some of my best friends and established some of my best relationships at The Ray, including John Henkel,” Tobias says. “Playing basketball there is a lot of fun and the competition is somewhat better than at Hayes Healy, which most alumni remember as one of their most favorite gyms in the city.”
Members also take advantage of the abundant individual wellness services—and fees are discounted for DePaul folks. Fitness assessments, personal trainers, nutrition assessments with a trained dietician, and massage are available.
“We’ve re-launched our massage therapy services with a new provider, Body Peace Chicago,” notes Chris Arterberry, campus recreation associate director. Professional practitioners—members of the American Massage Therapy Association—offer various types, including Swedish and therapeutic massages.
Physical therapy services are also available, and, if you’re wondering whether that knee you just strained is worth a trip to the doctor, the PTs will do a free injury screening.
Arterberry adds that there are special instructional classes for progressive skill-building and experiential learning—including a marathon class, Pilates and yoga. DePaul and community members join these by registering and paying a fee.
The aquatics instructional program brings alumni, community, faculty and staff members to The Ray in large numbers. “Children’s swim lessons are very popular. We could double the size if we had room,” says McGonagle.
As you may remember from your DePaul days, intramural sports help keep students healthy and happy. Offerings range from basketball, volleyball and softball to inner tube water polo, badminton, ping-pong and Scrabble. In addition, for a fee, students can play club sports, such as men’s or women’s rugby, or join student clubs to take part in ice hockey, martial arts, dance and other activities.
Sarah Hardin, campus recreation associate director, mentions Team Challenge, a training program for student groups, departments or corporate teams. This program offers professional guidance through group training exercises to enhance team-building or communication skills.
Hardin also shares a tip that may entice you to get your workout in: way up on the fourth floor of The Ray, you’ll find workout equipment—and great Chicago views.
Natural and Delicious
After your workout, how about walking across Sheffield Avenue for a bite to eat?
Alumni will find tasty, healthy fare when they visit the Student Center’s second-floor dining area, says Le Cordon Bleu Chicago-trained Chef James Lee, who oversees all of DePaul’s dining services. “Even alumni who were here only a few years ago will be surprised,” he says.
“Health awareness has taken a big jump in the last eight to 10 years. Students and parents are more concerned about eating healthy food,” Lee says. He notes that he keeps up with the trends so that he can offer students food that is familiar to them and helps them adjust to campus life.
“We try to prepare as much as we can using food from its natural state—while balancing that with controlling the business,” says Lee, who became interested in food when he worked in restaurants and completed a pre-medical degree at the University of Illinois.
He offers dishes and dressings prepared with a minimum of oils and fats, keeps gravy on the side and makes it a point to serve fish dishes, such as grilled salmon, two or three times a week. The sandwich bar features healthy options like the 97 percent fat-free chicken that’s roasted and sliced in-house, fresh vegetables, parmesan, mozzarella and other low-fat cheeses, and whole grain bread.
Lee often guides freshmen with special dietary needs and their parents through the dining area to see food options that were rare even a few years ago: Gluten-free, non-dairy choices and vegan entrees are all available in hot and cold dishes. He also works to keep it interesting with special features, such as a chili bar or Latin American favorites.
Lee says that the most popular of the seven food stations is still the grill. “Burgers and fries,” Lee says. “But instead of fries on the side, you can choose fresh fruit. The healthy choices are there.”
Mental Health Wellness
“There is a very high demand for counseling services,” says Jeffrey Lanfear, director of University Counseling Services (UCS), a crucial part of student wellness and prevention. He says he and his staff address “a wide range of students’ issues, from personal adjustment and developmental issues to depression, substance abuse or other serious mental health concerns.”
In addition to providing psychological and psychiatric services to students, outreach and prevention are essential activities for UCS. “Along with the Dean of Students Office, we train ‘gatekeepers,’ that is, student leaders, RAs, residential education directors, academic advisors and a variety of faculty and staff to recognize and refer distressed students. Nearly 25 percent of our student clients come from faculty and staff referrals,” Lanfear says.
UCS counselors visit classrooms to inform students about counseling services or offer consultation on coping with stress or adjusting to college life. They provide workshops on managing emotions, stress management and other mental health wellness practices.
Lanfear’s guidelines for maintaining mental health wellness are not only for students—they are good reminders for all of us: Learn how to stay in the present moment with compassion for self and others; maintain strong connections with friends and family; have a spiritual practice; stay engaged with your core values; and keep healthy diet, exercise and sleep routines.
“The good news is that so many things work. It’s an active process which requires daily attention to the ‘care of the soul,’” he says.