ASUC Senate discusses plan to install campus wellness centers

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Ariel Hayat/File

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At its penultimate meeting of the semester Wednesday, the ASUC Senate was updated on the progress made in negotiations to install relaxation centers on campus.

Denim Ohmit, chief of staff for the academic affairs vice president, spoke about advancements made in a project for Relaxation Enhancing Study and Tranquility Zones, or REST Zones. The idea for the project was initially brought up by CalSERVE senator and AAVP-elect Melissa Hsu, and it was one of her platforms when she ran for senate last year.

The project — spearheaded by Hsu, Executive Vice President Justin Kong, current AAVP Mon-Shane Chou and their respective offices — aims to install five “wellness” centers on campus. According to Ohmit, these centers will include napping spaces, meditation spaces and basic exercise materials.

The first of these centers will likely be installed on the fifth floor of Moffitt Library. Representatives from the ASUC are now working with the library on a memorandum of understanding to finalize the project.

The installation of the center would be part of Moffitt Library’s larger renovation project, which is expected to be completed by fall 2016. Hsu said she is also reaching out to other campus locations to install more wellness centers.

Jean Ferguson, the campus’s learning and research communities librarian, said the library welcomed the project, adding that “it fits right in” with Moffitt’s other renovation plans and programs.

According to Ferguson, some of the overriding themes of the renovation project are wellness and sustainability, and the library had already considered plans for meditation spaces prior to the proposition. She said, however, that these wellness centers are only meant for temporary uses, such as napping.

Sky Cao, a campus sophomore, said the plan is convenient for students who may be tired but do not want to go back home.

Likewise, campus senior Mercedes Ballesteros said it is very important to have rest spaces on campus. She said that there have been times when she has had to nap in her car and that campus rest spaces would likely reduce the number of students who sleep in class.

Hsu said the project managed to obtain funding of $79,000 from the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees earlier in her term.

At the senate meeting, ASUC Chief Communications Officer Joe Wilson was appointed as the new undergraduate representative to the ASUC Student Union Board of Directors.

Wilson will begin his term next academic year and will join a 12-member board that comprises students — including the ASUC president and EVP — faculty and staff. Wilson said the ASUC Student Union primarily oversees Lower Sproul Plaza operations.

Eight bills were passed on to appropriate senate committees to be discussed at the committees’ final meetings next week.

The last senate meeting of the year will be held April 29.

Contact Natchapol Praditpetchara at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @natchapolp.