Wellness at Earlham is defined as an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more healthy and fulfilling life. Goals of Earlham's Wellness Requirement include:
- Promoting balance among academic, occupational and recreational aspects of life.
- Providing opportunities to fulfill human needs such as belonging, achieving, competing, participating, socializing, exercising, relaxing and having fun.
- Promoting positive health and wellness behaviors for individuals and the community.
Wellness is an integral part of general education because understanding and caring for one's physical, psychological, spiritual and community selfhood is a fundamental prerequisite for all knowing. Further, the Wellness Requirement promotes a lifelong focus on both personal and community health in the broad sense, and on skills applicable to maintaining bodily kinesthetic, intellectual and emotional effectiveness.
Students may fulfill the Wellness Requirement in one of two ways:
- Completing four Wellness activity-based courses
- Taking and passing one analysis-based course (carrying two or more semester hours) designated as a Wellness course AND completing two Wellness activity-based courses.
Students may complete two of the Wellness activity courses by playing varsity sports, equestrian activities and one club sport (and registering appropriately). Analysis-based courses carrying the Wellness designation may simultaneously satisfy other General Education or major requirements for that student if appropriately designated.
Activity-Based Component — Activity courses aim at promoting physiological health, as reflected in cardiovascular functioning, muscular strength and conditioning, motor coordination skills and flexibility. Activity courses involve regular and extended practice of the activity as approved by the Athletics, Wellness and Physical Education program — typically at least 18 hours spread over seven weeks. Activity courses are ordinarily graded on a Credit / No Credit basis.
Analysis-Based Component — Academic Wellness courses focus on the integration of cognitive and experiential learning, connecting experience with strategies for reflection, integration and continuation. Typically courses are personally directed; they focus on building knowledge and skills that contribute to creating wellness in one's personal life and on helping students make choices toward a more healthy and fulfilling life.
Earlham's emphasis on community entails a recognition of the individual's responsibility for the society's overall approach to wellness. Therefore, Wellness courses focus on a practical approach to the cultural dimensions of health and wellness, including issues of social location and social justice, and incorporate training in how to access and assess information related to wellness. Classroom work may be supplemented by student participation in experiential co-curricular workshops or programs on such topics as sexuality, substance abuse, eating disorders, use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics, the use of prayer or stress management.