This coming academic year, Gibson Hall will be designated as a Fit. Green. Happy.® place of living. Mirroring Lloyd Hall, Gibson, named after former Maryville College president Gerald Gibson, has been home to almost 150 residents each year since 2008.
Standing four floors high, Gibson does currently employ a wellness component, which requires its residents to withhold from consuming tobacco products along with alcohol.
Created by Bruce Guillaume, founder and Director of Mountain Challenge, the Fit. Green. Happy.® initiative generally aims to promote physical, mental and environmental wellness all around. It’s an idea which encourages a higher sense of awareness and attention paid to our environment in addition to sustainability practices.
Because it has already been maintaining its preexisting wellness mandate, Gibson has been collectively decided upon by Guillaume and Student Services as the best candidate out of all the other residence halls as a starting point of expansion for these ideas. Generally, the concept behind implementing Fit. Green. Happy.® at Gibson revolves around increasing awareness of the initiative as whole.
“We want to keep the language of wellness but tweak it, so that it becomes multi-faceted,” explained Jessica Boor, who has been Maryville College’s Director of Student Services since August 2017. Within that role, Boor oversees Resident Life and wellness among other things. These upcoming tweaks to the wellness ideas aim to promote more than just abstaining from alcohol or tobacco use.
As of now, this initial introduction of Fit. Green. Happy.® to Gibson hall will not be changing any of the typical processes involved in application of residency or for any resident assistant (RA) positions, and there will still be the same number of programs.
“The hope is that RA’s would possibly hold programs directed at happiness and wellness,” said Boor.
Ideally, a stronger presence of wellness and environmentally friendly related ideas within Gibson would naturally spark more conversations and create additional opportunities to get active.
“I would hope students would become or feel self-driven,” said Guillaume in reference to engaging in activities such as weekly workouts.
It’s clear that one of the main goals around implementing Fit. Green. Happy.® is to create that sense of motivation to help ourselves and our environment within a communal space. Physically speaking, the building or pieces within it won’t be changing anytime soon either. Although according to Boor, Gibson might and hopefully will acquire a number of water fountains that include the sensor activated water bottle refill mechanism like others around campus in the future.
If not next year, it is likely that residents of Gibson Hall will eventually be able to participate in a “green” room program, which would be designed to promote overall energy efficiency and sustainability. Meaning, residents might try to do things such as turn off any overhead lights when not needed or take shorter showers to cut down on water usage.
“It would be something like ‘here’s a list of certain behaviors that residents could follow or begin engaging in,” Guillaume said.
It might even work on a rewards system of sorts to help motivate resident participation along the way. Of course, this, in combination with sustainability focused programs, would help create multiple levels of participation among Gibson’s residents.
“As a whole, we hope the overall outcome of utilizing Fit. Green. Happy.® like this leads to people actually being fit, green and happy when they leave Maryville College,” said Guillaume.
For the most part, it is true that one of the biggest aspects of attending Maryville includes focusing on the idea of citizenship and positive contribution to our world.
After asking a current resident of Gibson what they might think of the Fit. Green. Happy.® initiative being directly brought to the space, it seems plausible to say that most future residents and students overall feel positive about this expansion of ideas.
“I think the Fit. Green. Happy.® component combined with programs from RA’s related to Mountain Challenge activities will be so much fun,” said sophomore Brinley Knowles, who currently resides in Gibson. “I’m really excited to live there next year and see how Maryville College does themed buildings.”
Because Maryville College is rather conveniently located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s really only fitting that all students and residents get multiple chances to get physically and environmentally active in our outdoor environments.