“I thought that it would be great to be able to have this retreat where people could take a weekend away, relax, kind of recharge, but also connect with one another in a more meaningful way,” said Lindsay Johnson.
Johnson, assistant director of well-being at the Wellness Center, has been focusing on creating events like last Saturday’s, Recharge and Connect Retreat on Nov. 11 for students since before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The on-campus event served to encourage student connection while including yoga, story development, and a show at the planetarium. Additionally, all food was provided for students.
“I thought that it would be great to be able to have this retreat where people could take a weekend away, relax, kind of recharge, but also connect with one another in a more meaningful way,” Johnson said. “Because we know that actually, social connectedness and sense of belonging is one of the biggest indicators of overall wellbeing. So if that’s lacking, typically, people are not doing well in other areas.”
The original retreat consisted of hiking and nature walks in Medford, NJ through the Pines. After the pandemic, Johnson had to adapt the retreat to become a hybrid event. This led to hosting a retreat in the fall and spring, the one in the fall focusing on showing students what Rowan has to offer.
“A good example is the planetarium. The planetarium offers such cool things. And we don’t always know that students take advantage of it. And, I mean, for a couple [of] years that I was here, I never went to the planetarium. And then I had, there was an event there. I happened to go and it was so cool,” Johnson said.
Past activities of the spring retreat have included ax throwing, horseback riding, and rock wall climbing.
“We always do it right before spring break, like the weekend leading into spring break. That way, if people still want to go away, or do something the week of spring break, they can,” Johnson said. “And as a way to recharge, you know, we know that that’s a time of the year where students are really stressed out, they’re feeling pretty overwhelmed. So we feel like that’s a good time to just escape to nature.”
A large aspect of the retreat is to expose students to different people and experiences, and part of this is done by including professors from multiple colleges and majors. The Recharge and Connect retreat included chemical engineering, geography and sustainability, and health and wellness professors.
“Being able to also have these opportunities for faculty and staff to be with students in different capacities is so powerful,” Johnson said. “I think I’ve seen that in the people who have volunteered to be our retreat participants and do other things. It’s just so lovely.”
Freshman athletic training major Taylor Presbery-Fields discovered the event through ProfLink.
“For Rowan 101 you have to do six Rowan Thrive events, and I had to do that for another one of my classes, so I was like, ‘Okay let me find stuff that seems really relaxing to do,’ and then I found this,” Presbery-Fields said.
Another attendee of the event, senior liberal studies major Alexzia Lyons, explained why she wanted to come to the Recharge and Connect retreat.
“I don’t really know the stuff on campus, like we’re going to the planetarium and I’ve never done that, that’s part of the reason that I wanted to come. I also wanted to meet new people because we all do different things, so I thought that it would be interesting,” Lyons said.
Through the activities that the retreat offers, Johnson hopes that students get just as much out of it as she does.
“I don’t know if you have this in your life, but there’s these moments where you’ll leave something, whether it’s like an event or even if it’s just a brief encounter with a friend, and you walk away and you just feel fulfilled,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if happier is the right word. But maybe more content. Yeah, I think fulfilled is the word that comes to mind. Like, it fills my bucket.”
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