UTM's Passport to Wellness


When the Roman poet Juvenal, with quill pen in his hand, wrote the words Mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body ), he made it clear to all that an education was about more than getting a job. His dictum has survived centuries, but like many of todays students, its not in good shape.


Just your average professor photo/Dick Schmitt

Indeed, an unsavoury mix of narrow academic specialization, lack of exercise, Facebook overindulgence, and multitasking-induced stress has damaged many of todays students, reducing us to a status quite unlike Juvenal’s quote. Thankfully, a new program at UTM aims to change that—in more ways than one.

As of January 16, students wishing to get started in a wellness program that encompasses social skills, physical fitness, intellectual growth, and mental soundness can do better than borrowing a book on Ancient Greece from the library. All they require is a quick visit to the Athletics Department in the South Building, where they can pick up a two-page document entitled Passport to Wellness. They also need to register for a minimum of four UTM-supported activities, ranging from a Tai Chi class to writing for this paper.

One session in each activity earns students one mark in one of the passports four areas. Once all areas are full, participants in the program will be entered in a contest where two of them, one male and one female, will win an MP3 player.

The program lasts for only a month and admittedly, the prize is not a grand one. But all that may not matter. Psychological studies have shown that it only takes three to four weeks to form a new habit, and that the simple act of recording every time a beneficial activity is performed boosts confidence and inspires people to continue to perform these activities.

What truly matters is that students now have centralized means to make the most of current UTM offerings, and thus of their university experience. For isn’t that what school is supposed to be about? Making friends, learning beyond the classroom, helping others, strengthening your discipline, becoming fit, and of course, forging a sound mind inside a sound body?