Dining Services takes a step toward a healthier campus with the Mindful Mile

Linda Stocum

Kent State Dining Services encourages students and faculty members to stay active by hosting the Mindful Mile every Monday at noon.

The mile aims to get people to be active after lunch and runners gather at Risman Plaza.

Megan Brzuski, the Dining Services dietitian, said the Mindful Mile is growing and bringing people on campus together to work toward a healthier self.

The first mile took place during the Taste of Kent event in September featuring food samples from different places to eat on campus, and Brzuski said it has been growing in popularity since then.

“It’s growing this semester, for sure. We have several repeat walkers and a mix of new people too,” Brzuski said.

Brzuski said Dining Services is committed to the exercise event and providing students and faculty members an opportunity to live healthier lifestyles.

“We do the mile rain, snow or shine,” Brzuski said.

She also said participants receive a coupon for 15 percent off a Simply to Go item and an entry to win a FitBit at the end of the semester.

Senior Hospitality Management major Andrew Borgen works for Dining Services and said he has attended every Mindful Mile this semester.

“I think it’s good to be active in the middle of the day,” Borgen said.

He said exercise can reduce stress and help people to feel better throughout the day.

“(It benefits campus by) being active and healthy. You get a mile of exercise in,” he said.

Angela DeJulius, the director of the Kent State of Wellness initiative, said the mile also compliments the Kent State of Wellness initiative.

“It’s one of the university-level initiatives, (and) it’s focus is to create and foster a culture of wellness,” she said.

Its goal is to bring all of the campus, including students and employees, together to create a healthier culture on campus.

The initiative has eight priorities, which are alcohol and other drug use, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, preventive care, safety, sexual health and smoking and tobacco use. By focusing on these eight categories of student health, the initiative aims to make Kent a healthier campus overall.

DeJulius said her role is to promote initiatives and events like the Mindful Mile that are being done well and encourage the campus to continue to head in a healthier direction.

“It’s more about identifying everything that is happening and recognizing it as a wellness initiative,” DeJulius said. “In this early stage, my role is about recognizing these roles and how they go together.”

She said the Mindful Mile is an example of the campus mission for action on health by prioritizing both nutrition and mental health.

“I think it’s just a great way to connect the intention around health and health behavior to action,” DeJulius said. “Probably everyone on campus would say it’s a good idea to take a walk at lunch, but when lunch time comes, does that translate into behavior?”

DeJulius said living a healthier lifestyle is all about taking the first step.

“I think it’s a great way to make it one step easier to get out and walk,” said said, “to just add a little bit of physical activity.”

Students interested in getting involved with the Mindful Mile can meet at Risman Plaza at noon every Monday or follow arrows set up on the ground to indicate the mile-long path through campus.

Linda Stocum is the room and board reporter, contact her at [email protected].