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Penn State Announces Spring ‘Wellness Days’ Themes

Penn State has released more information about its upcoming spring semester “wellness days,” including themes and formats, the university announced Tuesday.

After making the decision to eliminate spring break due to concerns about students traveling and potentially spreading the virus, wellness days were put in place as non-instructional days off for students and faculty. Programming will be available to undergraduate and graduate students as well as instructors across all campuses.

A team of more than 30 faculty, students, and staff have been tasked with developing these wellness day programs.

While all of the programming offered with be centered around the components of social and emotional wellness, each day will focus on a specific theme:

  • Tuesday, February 9 – Financial and occupational dimensions of wellness
  • Thursday, March 11 – Intellectual and spiritual wellness
  • Wednesday, April 7 – Physical and environmental wellness

The director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs, Dan Murphy, said program themes are inspired by the NIRSA Models and Dimensions of Wellbeing, which focus on using collaborative approaches.

“Wellness day programs are intended to support the ability of individuals to focus on wellness, self-care and health,” Murphy said. “They are designed to enhance connections to the Penn State community and to provide resources to help us all have a successful spring semester.”

To satisfy the diverse needs of the Penn State community, programs will take on many different formats, including activities that are university-wide, self-paced, and even specific to individual campuses and academic colleges.

“We hope to provide opportunities to support all members of the Penn State community as they focus on their health and wellness throughout the semester,” Murphy said.

University offices will remain open on wellness days, despite no classes being held. Lorraine Goffe, vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer, said staff members are encouraged to participate in the programming as their schedule permits.

“Although wellness days are not holidays for staff members per se, we encourage staff to take advantage of the programs that will be available on these days,” Goffe said. “In addition, we encourage staff to use their vacation and personal time throughout the year to step away from the demands of work and focus on personal wellness.”

Penn State HR also offers numerous self-care and wellness-themed programs throughout the year for staff to participate in, including self-paced programs, recorded webinars, and real-time Zoom webinars.

More information about wellness days, such as programs and FAQs, can be found at The site will continue to be updated as program plans are finalized.

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About the Author

Abby Han

Abby is a freshman chemistry major from Hershey, Pennsylvania -- which means she's your gal whenever you have a craving for some chocolate. Born and raised a Nittany Lion, she loves all things Penn State. You can typically find her watching Friends, drinking Bubly, or taking timer pics on Snapchat. If you want to exchange cheesy puns, follow her on Twitter @_abbyhan.


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