Sometimes, you need a little adventure. A little movement. Particularly if your days are filled with classes and lectures and labs, and your nights are spent in front of a computer or holed up in the library. If that were the case, then the chance to go ice climbing or kayaking or biking might be just what the doctor ordered.
Or just what Monica Verity, director of recreation for the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, wants you to consider. “Recreation is a lifelong connection to being physical and being well and having an understanding of being balanced,” she says. “We hope in our program that we provide students all different opportunities to connect with finding that balance.”
Recreation at Wellesley goes well past some open gym hours and fitness equipment. It encompasses 20 offerings a week of student-led group fitness classes, from spin to barre to AquaFit. It includes Open Recreation, where students can play a pickup game of basketball, soccer, or a variety of other sports. It includes the recently created fitness center and the rejuvenated Butler Boathouse, as well as eight club sports teams. And last year, the Outdoor Adventure program was created to further encourage students to not only get outside, but to get outside their comfort zone with opportunities to try ice and mountain climbing.
The breadth of offerings is what first attracted Sophia Ashebir ’21 to Recreation. As a first-year, she started with spin classes and then took part in the Coast-to-Coast Challenge, riding enough miles to travel from New York to Los Angeles. “I just felt really accomplished after doing that, so I stuck with Recreation,” she says. “I have done it all.” She went on her first-ever mountain-climbing trip last fall. She regularly visits the boathouse to kayak. “I keep coming back because it’s a new adventure,” Ashebir says. “Trying new things and experimenting, just pushing myself outside my barriers of what I thought I could do and what I know now I can do.”
Grace Wong ’21 wanted to try something new, too, and it ended up taking her on a path she didn’t expect. As a first-year, she took her first-ever spin class. And now she’s in her second year of teaching Spin and is a group-exercise supervisor for the department. “I have the absolute, No. 1, best job on campus,” Wong says. “It’s so fun. It brings me so much joy.” Twice a week, she leads students in Spin classes, putting to use the training she acquired with Wellesley’s help, including national certification. “Everyone has a million options on how to spend their time,” she says. “It’s really special to me that people are like … we’re just going to focus on ourselves and focus on each other in this small room for 45 minutes every week.”
In addition to the other offerings, Recreation also hosts periodic special events, from snow tubing to a March Madness ping-pong tournament, ensuring there really is something for everyone. “My goal will always be to help connect with every student and help them understand the importance of recreating,” Verity says. “Helping them understand that sleeping, eating, and moving will make them be successful people both inside and outside of the classroom.”