Ursinus’s Chapel Program and the Wellness Center team up to promote spiritual wellness on campus

Photograph courtesy of Suzanne Angermeier

Maddie Kuklentz



As many Ursinus students know, the hustle and bustle of college often results in student wellness taking a backseat when it comes to prioritizing. And even when students stop to take care of themselves, they may not know how to tend to every facet of well-being. This is where the Wellness Center and the Chapel Program have decided to step in.

Angela Upright, a recent graduate from the Ursinus class of 2017 and Program Coordinator for the Harold C. Smith Program in Christian Studies, believes “out of all the domains of wellness, spirituality is . . .  usually the one that’s taken the least seriously.”

Ursinus’s Chapel Program received the Harold C. Smith Grant this year, which allowed Upright to pursue a spiritual wellness program that could benefit students.

“I think that, speaking from my own experience, I was always super busy, and I was a part of a lot of things, which I loved, and I don’t think my story is unique to Ursinus students . . . I think we find ourselves as individuals, and our friends, as always just super busy—always going to the next thing. So, with spiritual wellness, we hope to create spaces where students can slow down, which I know as a student, I literally had to schedule into my calendar time to slow down each week, and even then, it was hard,” explained Upright.

By bringing her experience as a recent alumna and her passion for her own personal spiritual wellness to the table, Upright can collaborate with Dr. Jessica Parrillo, Ursinus’s Director of Counseling and Wellness at the Wellness Center. Parrillo described the spiritual wellness program in an email, “The Wellness Center will facilitate the exploration of religious faith and moral values in our students through a new initiative that aims to bring together religion, spirituality, and counseling.”

“Speakers from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions will be drawn from the community with the aim of fostering spiritual wellness in our students. Programs will guide students in the exploration of their inner selves, the meaning making process of life experiences, and the development of spiritual practices, like discernment and meditation. Students will be better able to develop a harmony with their inner self and the world. Spiritual wellness is considered one of the six major dimensions of wellness, but is often overlooked in the clinical setting,” said Parillo.

While a series of spiritual wellness workshops has already begun along with weekly yoga and meditation sessions, Upright expressed her excitement for upcoming events.

For example, later this month, on Nov. 15, a poetry reading will be held as part of the spiritual wellness program. Upright explained that “people can bring in their favorite poetry.”

“On the advertisement we have for it, it has the specific poets that the people are going to be leading discussion about, reading poems, and [an invitation] people to bring their own [poetry].”

During the spring semester, Upright is looking forward to introducing more workshops based off student feedback, and hosting an expert speaker on forgiveness, Dr. Loren Toussaint of Luther College.

“He’s probably going to workshop with students and have a full campus lecture. He’s really awesome,” said Upright.

For more information on the spiritual wellness program, students can contact Angela Upright at aupright@ursinus.edu or the Wellness Center at wellness@ursinus.edu. Students should stay tuned for more emails regarding upcoming segments in the series.

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