Wellness initiative opportunity

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Wellness initiative opportunity

Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus.
Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus. Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus. Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus. Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

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Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus. Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

Water: 31 new water bottle-filling stations have been installed throughout campus.
Javier Muro de Nadal / Staff Photographer

During this past summer, SLU’s campus experienced many changes. In addition to the installation of the new president in July and the University’s new food provider setting up camp, there have also been other, smaller adjustments to campus life – such as the increase in waterbottle filling stations. Behind many of these less glamorous changes is the SGA Wellness Initiative fund.

“Any group can submit a wellness initiative,” said SGA VP of Finance Jaisel Patel. “It can be a student group, CSO [Chartered Student Organization], or it can just be a group of students. It’s any initiative that benefits the mind, body, or spirit, or all three of those.”

The water bottle filling stations, according to Patel, are a palpable sign of what a wellness initiative can achieve. The 31 stations now accessible across campus are part of a joint effort between the SGA Wellness Committee, Student Development and Housing and Residence Life to reduce waste from disposable plastic water bottles. But the Wellness Initiative is not just something that is taken advantage of by official SLU organizations such as SGA.

“Anyone outside of the committee could have come up with this idea,” Patel said. “It’s starting to pick up speed. My biggest goal for this year is to make sure that students are aware of the wellness initiative. If they have a great idea that benefits mind, body or soul, I want them to bring those proposals to us so that we can bring those goals to life.”

According to Patel, students can only benefit from wellness funds being utilized. The money for wellness funding comes from the wellness fee, paid as part of a student’s tuition.

“All students pay into the wellness fee—this is the fee that also pays for your membership at Simon Rec—and we [SGA] get a small proportion for the Wellness Initiatives,” Patel said.

In order to get funding for a wellness initiative, students or groups submit a proposal on the finance section of the SGA website. Once this is done, the student or group presents their case—which, according to Patel, includes specific details about fund usage and how it would relate to mind, body or spirit—to the SGA Wellness Committee where, if approved, it would move on to a vote in front of the SGA Senate.

“The best thing I like about this is that anyone can apply for these funds…any group of students or friends can come up with an idea, and as long as it’s attainable and benefits those three criteria—mind, body and spirit—and they can stick to the requirements within the wellness proposal [they will get funding],” stated Patel.

Of course, there is a limited amount of funds. But according to Patel, they have never run dry in the program’s short history. In his opinion, however, this is not necessarily a good sign.

“If we run out of those funds,” Patel said, “…that’s an awesome thing because we’re utilizing those funds that students are already paying.”