When administrators in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) began exploring the building of what is now the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) complex, a lot of emphasis was placed on the overall wellness of veterinary students.
In addition to a space devoted to counseling services—which now houses a full-time and half-time counselor from Texas A&M’s Student Counseling Services (making the CVM the only college with a satellite counseling center at Texas A&M)—to help students manage the physiological aspects of stress, administrators carved out a space for students to manage their stress through physical exercise.
On April 13, that Wellness Room was officially opened for CVM student use during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, during which associate dean for professional programs Dr. Karen Cornell thanked those who made the room possible, from the faculty and staff who were a part of the planning process, to the donations from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) and Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) that allowed the college to fill the room with gym equipment.
“We anticipate that this room will give our students a great place to go,” Cornell said. “We know our students are committed; they are here long hours, so this allows them to have a place right here on-site that is just for them. They can get to it easily, take a break (by working out), re-focus, and then if they want to get right back to their studies, they can.”
“We really appreciate our partnership with the TVMA and TVMF in making this possible,” she said.
TVMF president Chad Harris and director Leah Ann Tibbitts, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said they were very impressed by the CVM Wellness Room and hope that the students not only will benefit from the equipment now but will also develop habits that will be important for them in the future.
“Wellness is something that’s important to everybody in the veterinary profession,” Harris said. “I hope that it will allow students to continue to take control of themselves and their wellbeing, which is important. It can be very hard for us to remember that we have to take care of ourselves during busy times.
“Donating to this facility is a good way for us to give back to the students, to hopefully improve their physical and mental wellbeing,” he said. “For us, it means helping people be prepared for the future by helping them take care of themselves.”
“The foundation is always looking for additional ways to support the students and the veterinary school and being able to be a part of this is just one more way we are excited to help out,” Tibbitts added.
Likewise, TVMA immediate past president Dan Posey said the TVMA is grateful to be a part of bringing the CVM Wellness Room to fruition and is extremely happy with how it turned out.
“It’s a very beautiful room; it’s one of those things that actually exceeds my expectations of what we were thinking about when we made the (VBEC) building. This is fantastic,” Posey said. “Wellness is so very important to the veterinary medicine field. This room will reinforce to the students the importance of taking care of themselves when they go into private practice, because most of the times (in the field), we are all about our clients and we forget about ourselves.”
The room, which opened in March, includes two treadmills, two elliptical trainers, a recumbent bicycle, a rowing machine, a functional training unit, free weights, and yoga mats and is open to DVM students, graduate students, staff and faculty.
In addition to the contributions by the TVMA and TVMF, the room was made possible by the generous support of the CVM’s departments of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Pathobiology, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Physiology and Pharmacology, and Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, as well as the the Professional Programs Office.
In order to exercise in the CVM Wellness Room, fob access is required, and students, faculty, and staff must sign a waiver, available in VENI Building Room 306R. For more information on Wellness Room regulations, click here.